Governor Rauf Aregbesola spoke in Abuja at an event sponsored by the Federal Government and the Partnership for Child Development (PCD) to promote home grown school meals for Nigerian pupils, tagged: “Investing in school feeding in Nigeria: Opportunities for advancing home grown school feeding programmes for the benefit of school children and farmers in Nigeria.”
The programme has only been implemented by Kano and Osun states.
Aregbesola said though the programme had been devoid of manipulation since it was repackaged in 2010, there was need to digitalise it.
He said: “We are advancing to a point where nobody would manipulate the process. By the end of this month, we will issue our pupils, particularly those at the elementary level, electronic smart cards with which they will register for meals consumed on the Point of Sale (PoS) terminal. Once they do so, the caterers will take their PoS to the bank where the number of pupils fed will be analysed. We are digitising the process in a way that there can’t be manipulation. This means it is one programme that is worthy of every naira and kobo invested in it.”
Aregbesola said the programme gulps N12.7 million on every school day.
He said N601,400 is paid to 3,007 caterers daily as transport fare, adding: “Today, with Osun’s elementary school enrolment figure of almost
253,000, the implication is that of increasing our annual expenditure on O’MEALS to about N3 billion. This does not include staff salary.”
The governor said the cost of the meals is shared by the state government and local governments on a 40/60 per cent ratio.
He said the programme has helped his administration to achieve many of its objectives, such as the increased enrolment of pupils in elementary schools.
Aregbesola said: “The programme is consistent with our government’s goals of banishing poverty and hunger, creating work and wealth, creating functional education, restoring healthy living and engendering communal peace and progress.”
PCD Executive Director Dr. Les Idris urged all tiers of government to collaborate and ensure the success of the project.
She said PCP will support any state that shows interest in the programme.