Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, says that no fewer than 7.4 million pupils are benefitting from the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme(NHGSFP) of the Federal Government.
Osinbajo, represented by Mr Boss Mustapha, Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), made the disclosure at a National Symposium on NHGSFP on Friday in Abuja.
The symposium, organised in partnership with the National Social Investment Office, was in honour of the African Day of School Feeding.
NHSGSP is one of the pillars of the social investment efforts of the Federal Government.
“I am amazed at the level this wonderful programme has attained; this is a major success recorded.
“The programme provides a social safety net that improves the health and education of the poorest and most vulnerable children.
“NHSGSP is among our efforts to combat poverty; it is anchored on ensuring nutrition for our children.
“It is our attempt to reach the family unit in very real times; we have some good work in this regard; it is currently operating in 22 states in Nigeria with 7, 487, 441 pupils as beneficiaries.
“We must appreciate the micro-economic effect of this; it has engaged 75, 330 cooks; over 8000 persons are employed in the value chain– that helps in fighting poverty,’’ he said.
Mustapha said that there was need for all stakeholders to scale up their efforts at making the programme a huge success.
He called on all arms of government to strengthen their commitment to NHSGSP.
In her address, Mrs Maryam Uwais, Special Advisor to the President on Social Investments, said that objective of the meeting was to showcase the current NHGSFP; its concept, process and challenges to generate the highest level of political commitment.
She said that the programme was functional in 22 states viz–Abia, Anambra, Enugu, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ebonyi, Zamfara, Delta, Benue, Plateau, Bauchi, Taraba, kaduna, Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, Imo, Jigawa, Niger, Kano, Kastina and Gombe.
According to her, Ondo and Borno will begin before month runs off.
“During the 26th African Union Summit in Jan. 2016, the heads of states adopted school feeding programmes as a continental strategy to enhance retention and performance of children in schools and to boost income generation and entrepreneurship in local communities.
“NHGSFP is one of the major pillars of the social investment effort of the present administration that seeks to impact on the lives of millions of Nigerian in the most direct way possible.
“The others include National Cash Transfer Programme(NCTP), NPower, Government Enterprises and Empowerment Programme(GEEP).
“All these programmes have achieved profound successes so far. One the most important aspects of the social investment programmes is the millions of Nigerians who have and would benefit directly and indirectly from each of the various schemes.”
She said that social investments had recorded 7.9 million direct beneficiaries since inception and had presence in 36 states of the federation and Federal Capital Territory.
Uwais said that through NPower, 200,000 graduate beneficiaries were currently enrolled and working in various institutions around the country.
“20,000 graduate beneficiaries in non-graduate category have commenced training in 34 states around the country.
“GEEP has 259, 541 beneficiaries of 4, 784 cooperatives that have paid across the country.
“NCTP has commenced developing a social register in all states that have met the criteria provided in the MoU signed with our office.
“So far, we have 455, 857 poor and vulnerable households uploaded onto the National Social Register, from which 297, 973 households have been mined and are being mined and being paid stipends in 20 states,’’ she said.
She listed the states benefitting from NCTP as Jigawa, Bauchi, Kogi, Osun, Cross Rivers, Anambra, Kastina, Kano, Taraba, Gombe, Adamawa, Niger, Nasarawa , Benue, Oyo, Ekiti, Kwara, Borno, Kaduna and Plateau.