COVID-19: Home Grown School Feeding Programme in Bauchi Suffered Setback in 2020

From: Segun Babatunde in Bauchi

The Special Adviser and Bauchi State Focal Person on Social Investment Programmes, Hajiya Amina Katagum has 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 Lock-down and closure of business.

This is as Senate Commitee on Poverty Alleviation and Social Investment Programmes urges state governments to key into the Nigeria Social Investment Programmes (NSIP).

The Special Adviser spoke yesterday 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.

She said that the Home Grown School Feeding programme aims to deliver school to young children with 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.

According to her,”In Bauchi state, 445,789 school children, 7,584 women and 3,000 small farmers had benefited from the Programme as at 31st March 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 State is awaiting additional number of schools recently captured by the National Bereau of Statistics to be included in the school feeding Programme and to this end, more women will be recruited as food vendors with benefits” she said

Under the N-power Programme which exited Batch A and B and Batch C, awaiting recruitment, Hajiya Katagum said that in Bauchi state, 15,496 had benefited from the Programme as at 31st July 2020, adding that N500,000 was injected into the state as stipends to the volunteers on a monthly basis.

She said that under the Conditional 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.

Also speaking, the Chairman Senate Committee on Poverty Alleviation and Social Investment Programmes, Senator Lawal Yayaha Gumau urged state governments that are yet to key into the federal government Nigeria Social Investment Programmes(NSIP), to do so in order to empower thier citizens and reduce the scourge of poverty in their respective states.

The Senator who led a delegation of members of the committee to Bauchi state for the Town Hall meeting,said that the aim of the Town Hall meeting was to know how the NSIP has fared in the state with a view to preferring solutions to the challenges of the Programme.

“I am happy that I am in your midst to rub minds with you on this laudable initiative of the federal government.Down there in Abuja, we don’t use to hear about the problems of the Programme, we only hear the good side of it.That is the reason why we initiated this Town Hall meeting that we have started now”

According to him,”We specifically chose to come to Bauchi state because Bauchi is my state and I believe coming by myself to hear the problems will give the state the opportunity to benefit more because I have heard it directly from the focal person of the Programme in the state. I want to use this opportunity to thank the government of Bauchi state because without the active participation of the state government, we will not have achieve this feat of success in the social investment Programme in the state” he said

The Senator then urged the incoming batch C and D of the N-power Programme to plan for the future by saving from the stipend paid by the federal government as the stipends have a duration of time which is not forever.

In his address, the State Governor, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed said that the Town Hall meeting was aimed at mapping out strategies towards maximizing the benefit of the NSIP Programme to the people of Bauchi state and the nation at large.

Represented by the State Deputy Governor, Senator Baba Tela, the Governor said that as part of the present administration efforts is to improve the standard of living of the citizens, adding that the goverment is making conscious effort to carry along the youths and women as priorities in executing their policies and Programmes in the state

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