By James Sowole in Akure
The federal government Home Grown Feeding Programme that was temporarily halted in Ondo State would resume next week.
The implementation of the scheme, THISDAY learnt, was suspended due to alleged discripances in the payment of food vendors.
The Special Adviser to the Ondo State governor on Public and Inter-govermental Relations, Mrs Olubunmi Ademosu, who said the scheme would resume next week, said government was already looking into the issue with a view to rectify the problem.
The special adviser said the suspension of the programme was as a result of discrepancies in the information submitted by the food vendors.
She said many of the cooks engaged for the programme did not have bank accounts before they registered for the programme but hurriedly opened bank accounts without genuine Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs).
The special adviser stressed that many of the names submitted did not tally with the BVNs, which led to the difficulty in crediting their accounts.
She said that most of the cooks were not high-tech caterers in line with the decision of government to ensure that the programme does not only provide food for school children but also serve as an empowerment platform for the people.
She said the agency monitoring the programme in Abuja discovered that apart from giving wrong information about themselves, investigations revealed that many of the vendors had plans to sublet the job to people that were not medically and professionally certified fit for the programme.
Ademosu said the programme was carefully designed in a way that resources allocated for the success of the programme were not diverted, hence the direct crediting of the accounts of the over 1,000 cooks engaged for the programme.
The special adviser, whose office is in charge of the scheme, said about 78,000 pupils were already being fed in the state with the target to touch over 100,000 pupils across the three senatorial districts.
She added that the agency discovered that about 95 per cent of pupils in Akoko area of the state were not benefitting from the programme when it took off in the state, while the process of ensuring that the programme was not politicised was put in place.
“The teething challenges being witnessed are already being rectified as a team of government officials are already working with the monitoring agency in Abuja to facilitate the resumption of the programme with better and robust coordination that would ensure that no area of the state is denied from benefitting from the programme.
“About 90 per cent of the vendors have now rectified their accounts and hopefully, the right vendors will be credited by tomorrow and the programme will commence immediately.
â€œOver 80 per cent of the vendors have now complied fully and their details uploaded now. The slight hitch is not only peculiar to Ondo State but other states,” she said.