Bauchi State government has declared that no pupil was fed in the state during the four months of the COVID-19 pandemic induced holidays contrary to the claim by the Federal Government that pupils across the were fed under the school feeding programme.
The disclosure was made by the Bauchi State Focal Person on Social Investment Programmes, Hajiya Amina Katagum who said that the Home Grown School Feeding Programme in the state suffered a setback in the year 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic which exacerbated the socio-economic challenges of the state as a result of the lockdown and closure of businesses.
Amina Katagum who is also the Special Adviser on Social Investments Programme was speaking on Tuesday during a Town Hall meeting on Social Investment Programmes organized by the Bauchi State government in collaboration with the Senate Committee on Poverty Alleviation and Social Investment Programmes, held at the Multi-purpose indoor hall Bauchi on Tuesday.
Amina Katagum said that the Home Grown School Feeding programme is well-intended as it aims at delivering young schoolchildren with a specific focus on increasing school enrollment and reducing the incidence of malnutrition, especially among the poor and ordinary people as well as empowering community women as cooks and supporting small farmers that help stimulate economic growth.
She explained that “in Bauchi State, 445,789 school children, 7,584 women and 3,000 small farmers had benefited from the programme as at March 31, 2020. School enrollment had increased as a result of the programme. About N624,230,600 comes into the state monthly for feeding of the school children during sessions.”
The special adviser added that “the state is awaiting an additional number of schools recently captured by the National Bureau of Statistics to be included in the school feeding programme and to this end, more women will be recruited as food vendors with benefits.”
Under the N-Power Programme which exited Batch A and B while Batch C is awaiting recruitment, she said that in Bauchi State, 15,496 had benefited from the programme as at July 31, 2020, adding that N500,000 was injected into the state as stipends to the volunteers on a monthly basis.
She further said that under the Conditioner Cash Transfer (CCT) which is also a component of the social investment programme of the federal government, 23,272, households which is equivalent to N232,720,000 as at inception in 2016 had benefited from the programme, adding that the figure has remained until the coming of the present administration that increased the number to 54,974 also equivalent to N549,740.
Amina Katagum, however, lamented that one of the supervisors of the program in the state is not doing what is expected of him, calling for his removal from the state if the program is to succeed as planned.
She also said that the state government is committed to the programme and is doing everything possible to ensure that the programme succeeds in the state as it will contribute to the reduction of poverty among the people and increase school enrollment, especially of the girl-child.