The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) on Wednesday, had a brainstorming session with food vendors, aggregators, and other relevant stakeholders, with a view to improving efficiency of the Home-grown School Feeding programme in the FCT.
Mrs Chinwendu Amba, the FCT Focal Person and Special Assistant on Social Investment Programme (SIP) to FCT Minister of State, made this disclosure at an interactive session held at the LEA Primary School in Jabi, Abuja.
According to Amba, that the programme started in FCT with feeding of over 81,000 children.
“But now there are a total of 125,000 children, and FCTA have written to the Ministry of the Humanitarian Affairs, to capture the new number of children and schools in their next tranche of payment.”
She said that most of the complaints of vendors were resolved at the meeting, including the controversy trailing funds disbursement and purported payment of the approved additional N30 to the N70 feeding cost per pupil.
Amba revealed that the FCT created a platform where the administration interacts and disseminates vital information to the those involved in the programme.
According to her, this move will ensure that everybody is informed about what to do at any time, as well as the desk officers to be able handle complaints.
“The idea for this programme is financial inclusion, and that is what we are doing so far in the FCT, and because of this programme, we have more enrollment of children in our schools now.
“As the food on the menu are sourced locally, we are promoting agriculture and employing more cooks- that’s financial inclusion, making sure that those women in the rural areas are being captured in this programme.
“For me, this programme should be institutionalised for any other administration coming in, so we are asking and pleading for sustainability, because it has gone a long way to promote this administration.
“The programme cuts across every segment of the society, including the rural communities.
“We are happy for the programme and what we have achieved so far, and we are begging and pleading that there should be sustainability.”
Earlier, Mrs Zainab Abubakar, National Coordinator, National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, assured the stakeholders that payment of the approved increased package would soon commence.
She said that the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, is working assiduously to ensure the sustainability of funds disbursement to food vendors and aggregators.
Similarly, Programme Manager, FCT Home-grown school feeding programme, Alhaji Kudu Dangana, disclosed that efforts are ongoing to capture all the schools as more schools are being created.
Dangana, who is also the Director, Social Mobilisation, FCT UBEB, advised the food vendors to report any teacher or school administrators found wanting in the schools, where the programme is implemented.
According to him, “very soon everything will be okay, that’s why we invited officials from the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and other stakeholders to come together to dialogue.
Some of the food vendors who commended the government for the school feeding programme, however, advocated for more regular interactive sessions with stakeholders, to help bridge any communication gaps.
They also appealed for improved fund disbursements and implementation of the approved N100 per pupil payment for the days of feeding.
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