• Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Home-grown school feeding programme reactivated in Delta as FG pays caterers to resume cooking

Home-grown school feeding programme reactivated in Delta as FG pays caterers to resume cooking

Darlington Ijeh, the Delta State commissioner for Humanitarian and Community Support Services, has said that the state government has continued to push for the successful implementation of the National Home School Feeding Programme (NHSFP) in the state.

Ijeh said that the efforts had led to reactivation of the programme in the state, with the Federal Government paying the caterers to resume cooking and feeding of primary one to three pupils in the public schools across the 25 local government areas of the state.

BusinessDay learnt that for the past three years, the programme had been in coma because the caterers were not consistently paid, thus, they had no money to cook and feed the pupils in line with the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Federal and the state government.

He disclosed that it was not just that the caterers have now been paid to cook but that additional 98,000 pupils would be captured in the ongoing data capturing pupils in public schools, to benefit from the programme.

The amount for a plate of meal per pupil has also been increased from N70.00 to N100.

He made the disclosure in Asaba during a two-day meeting with the 2,600 caterers, local government secretaries and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the NSIP, from the three senatorial districts of the state.

Ijeh said that the success recorded was as a result of the commitment of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa who he said believes that his administration must finish strong.

The commissioner, who was appointed into the office recently, said: “The number of forms we had were 48,000 and through the intervention and passionate logical appeal before the Hon. Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHADMSD), an additional 49,000 forms were released to the state for the ongoing capturing exercise in public primary schools and we are expecting more 49,000 forms.”

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He said that data of the pupils must be captured else the caterers would not be paid in the next phase.

Already, about 261,000 primary one to three pupils have been recorded as intakes as schools resumed for the 2022 academic year.

“This programme is a Federal Government programme but you cannot get it right without the state earnestly working and making sure that the programme is successful.

“That was the reason Governor Okowa insisted that every one of you must be happy. You cannot be shortchanged anymore,” he said.

Henry Agwazim, the state focal person on the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), in an interview, told BusinessDay that the essence of the meeting was to inform the caterers in the HGSFP on the latest implementation plan from the FG as well as measures put in place by the state government and of course, celebrate the increase that they got in terms of payment.

“As a directorate, what we know how to do is to work in conjunction with Governor Okowa’s ‘Finishing Stronger’ mandate of alleviating poverty.

Kingsley Emuh, the chief economic adviser to the Governor, said that his presence at the meeting was as a result of the good report about the programme.

“The reports reaching us indicate that you have improved and by God’s grace, you would improve more,” he said.

While advising them to carry out their assignment (of feeding the pupils) with diligence, Emuh also encouraged them to be a blessing to others as God is blessing them.

Most of the caterers interviewed disclosed that they stopped feeding the children because they were being owed.

They also said that because the payments were not steady they were not also steady in cooking.