The Federal Government yesterday said it would solely be responsible for the funding of the A-Meal-A-Day programme, dismissing anxiety over reports that some states are not ready for the programme due to funding challenges.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Lai Mohammed, who made the revelation in Lagos at the 8th Alhaji Kafaru Tinubu Memorial Ramadan Lecture the theme: “Supreme Sacrifice and the Essence of Followership in Governance,” said the pilot scheme of the programme has started and it will cover 5.5 million pupils when fully on stream.
The minister was apparently reacting to reports credited to Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose statement, which insisted that the School Feeding Programme of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Federal Government must be done without the proposed 40 per cent counterpart funding from the states.
Fayose, who said the school feeding programme was purely a contract between the APC-led Federal Government and Nigerians, asked “Were the states consulted before the APC made the promise during the presidential campaign? How can you make a promise and win election on the basis of that promise and now expect states to help you to fulfill the promise? That to me is fraud!”
“As for us in Ekiti, we are interested in the programme because Nigeria belongs to all of us. But we won’t contribute any counterpart fund because the programme is solely an electoral promise of the APC and we were never consulted before the promise was made. We don’t even have the capability to make any financial contribution even if it is 10 per cent because our financial condition is such that we can’t even pay workers salary,” Governor Fayose said.
However Mohammed said, the N500 billion Social Intervention Programme was put in place to help alleviate poverty, maintaining that the huge money earmarked for the intervention programme in the 2016 budget was one of the sacrifices the government had to make in the face of falling revenue.
“The N500 billion Social Intervention Programme which is broken into five parts covers employment of 500, 000 unemployed graduates who will be trained as teachers. It also covers the employment of 100, 000 artisans as well as the One-Meal-A-Day programme for pupils in primary schools.”
“The Enterprise Scheme, which is targeted at one million market men and women, 460, 000 artisans, 200, 000 agriculture workers is also covered in the programme. It also covers the N5, 000 monthly conditional cash transfer to the poor and vulnerable,” the minister said.