…N63.2 bn, N32.2 bn and N124.4bn spent in 2018, 2019, 2020
…as lawmakers vow to audit programme for accountability
By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA-House of Representatives has expressed outrage over the expenditure of N186 billion on the Federal Government’s School feeding programme by the National Conditional Cash Transfer Office (NICTO).
The House frowned at the amount when the officials coordinating the programme appeared before its Committee on Public Accounts on Monday.
The Chairman of the Committee, Hon Busayo Oluwole Oke and other members of the Committee while grilling the National Coordinator of the School Feeding Programme Dr. Mrs. Sinkaye Temitope and National Safety Net Coordinating Officer, Mr. Iowa Apera on the disbursement of the N64bn out of N186 billion said to have been so far spent on feeding the school pupils alone
Registered their displeasure over the development, saying it was unacceptable.
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To this end, the Committee which is also investigating the management and utilisation of the Presidential Task Force PTF on COVID-19 demanded a complete project audit of the programme immediately
According to a document submitted to the committee, the NICTO office received a credit of $400 million from the World Bank, $321 million from Abacha Restitution and another $400 million said to be balanced from the government equity fund.
But the National Coordinator told the lawmakers that the feeding programme had been on-going since 2016 when the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs initiated it and had so far gulped N186 billion in totality.
She further told the committee that the budget breakdown showed that N63.2 billion, N32.2 billion, and N124.4 billion were spent by the office in 2018, 2019, and 2020 respectively.
But two members of the committee, Hon. Chudi Momah (Anambra, APGA) and Hon. Miriam Onuoha (Imo, APC) rejected the report, insisting that many schools and communities were yet to benefit from the school feeding programme.
Momah refuted claims that 200,000 pupils from different families had benefited from the programme in Ihiala local council area of Anambra State
Consequently, the Chairman, Oke who had earlier administered an oath to the National Coordinator said that the Committee would look at the documents submitted, noting the possibility of the funds not have passed through an appropriation by the parliament.