By Greg Betiang, Calabar
Gabriel Okulaja, Special Adviser to the C’River State Governor on National Home Grown School Feeding Programme, HGSFP, and State Desk Officer has disclosed that in C’River, 168, 069 kids across the 18 local government areas, LGAs, are beneficiaries of the programme, on-going in 1000 government primary schools in the state.
While fielding questions from www.calitown.com, Okulaja further informed that, it cost the programme N70 (seventy naira) per day to feed one kid and apologised for the initial problems that the programme encountered in the state. Okulaja agreed that N70 was not enough to comfortably feed one kid on a daily basis and submitted too that he is sure government is working to review upwards the amount spent per head.
On why the vendors engaged have recently been asked to pay N5,000 each, he explained that the money was not paid to his office but to designated government medical facilities saddled with the responsibility of ascertaining the medical health of the vendors. “We are talking about food vendors here and government has said look, all of them must go and have a medical check up to help ascertain who can continue or who can risk the lives of this kids. The world over, this is standard practice in the food and beverage industry and we cannot lower the standard. If the medical check okays X or Y vendor, we will continue doing business with them, short of that, no”, he maintained.
He came clear that the programme in the state has increased kids enrolment in schools across the state because most of these kids who normally had little or no food are now assured of a healthy meal in school. The HGSF programme is part of a 500 billion Naira funded Social Investment Programme announced by the Buhari administration to tackle poverty and improve the health and education of children and other vulnerable groups. It is presently active in 19 states of Nigeria
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