By Donald Ugwu
An update on the Social Intervention Programmes (SIPs) of the Buhari government has shown that 25 millions meals have so far been given Nigerian pupils in the seven pilot states where the National Homegrown School Feeding Programme has taken off.
Acting President Yemo Osinbajo, who received the report ordered the expansion of the programme to enable more Nigerians to benefit, a statement by the Vice Presidential Spokesman, Laolu Akande, said on Tuesday.
About N41 billion has so far been spent on the SIPs.
According to the report, 1,051,619 primary school pupils were fed across the seven states of Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, and Zamfara state engaging about 11,847 cooks.
Altogether 8,587 schools are involved in the affected states.
The spokesman said more meals would be served as Delta and Abia States were now to come on the programme later in the week.
Delta state is expected to receive more than N63.3 million to start the feeding of 90, 523 pupils, while Abia will receive N42.9 million.
“Besides, Kaduna State has now been repaid N3.4 billion for its past expenses in implementing the food programme ahead of FG’s roll-out,’’ he added.
A breakdown of the over N41 billion so far spent on the SIPs, showed that N-Power, which is the job programme for unemployed graduates, received N26.418 billion, the single largest spending item of the four social investment programmes under the 2016 Appropriation.
He said the Home Grown School Feeding (HGSFP) received N7.092 billion, Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) N800 million and Government Enterprises Entrepreneurship Programme (GEEP) N7.301 billion.
“For instance, under the N-Power job scheme for unemployed graduates now running in 36 States and FCT, 162,024 unemployed graduates have been effectively enrolled and validated.
“This means that the enrollees have been cleared to be receiving the N30,000 monthly stipends, out of the 200,000 originally engaged late last year,’’ he said.
Akande said an additional number had just been added to the list of those receiving their pay in the last several weeks noting that effort was being made to validate others.
This, he said, was to ensure that the 200,000 places provided for in the first batch of the programme were effectively enrolled as provided for under the first phase of the programme.
He said a date for the reopening of the portal to receive more applications under the programme would be announced soon.
Under the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) scheme, Akande said that 26,942 beneficiaries in nine states and 84 local government areas were being funded as at April with the monthly N5,000 stipend.
The states are Borno, Cross River, Niger, Kwara, Ekiti, Kogi, Oyo, Osun and Bauchi.
He said based on the recent directive of the Acting President, the number was expected to rise up to about 400,000 beneficiaries covering more states in the next few months.
The spokesman said 57,234 interest free loans were disbursed under the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme (GEEP), designed to empower market women, traders and artisans.
The release said that GEEP, designed for no fewer than one million Nigerians, had now registered 3,162,451 people.
“So far, women participation has been remarkable with 56 per cent of loans so far disbursed to women beneficiaries in 28 States and FCT.
“Directives have also been given to scale up the loan disbursement to 150,000 by end of next month,’’ he added.