Ondo earmarks N4.2 billion to ‘feed primary school pupils’ in 2018

Photo credit: ODSG

The Ondo state government has earmarked over N4.2 billion as counterpart fund for the school feeding project.

The figures seen by SUNSHINE HERALD is contained in the 2018 budget details signed by the governor of the state, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu on Tuesday, February 6.

The total budget passed by the house and signed into law is N181.42 billion.

According to the breakdown, which was published under Ondo State of Nigeria, estimates 2018, Special Programmes Details, the state will spend N2,574,702,900 on ‘Feeding of Pupils in Selected Primary School GCC’.

Another N1,628,127,183.00 was also earmarked for ‘Feeding of Pupils in Selected Primary School Drawdown’

SUNSHINE HERALD investigation showed that the school feeding project which was launched in February by Mr. Akeredolu is in collaboration with the federal government, which would provide 60 per cent of the funding.

The federal government under the arrangement is to cater for the feeding of Primary 1-3 pupils, while state governments will foot the bill for Primary 4-6 pupils.

“To demonstrate the readiness of the Ondo State Government to key into this program, we have today, recruited over 1500 medically-fit and trained cooks.

“We also have our local farmers involved in the programme for the supply of food,” Akeredolu said during the launch.

It will be recalled that the Ondo state government under the leadership of immediate past governor, Olusegun Mimiko had kicked against the school feeding programme just like many other states.

Mr. Kayode Akinmade, the Information Commissioner under Mimiko told PUNCH in 2016 that the state government never promised to provide free meals for primary school pupils.

Blaming the APC-led Federal Government for failing to do proper analysis on the feasibility of the scheme, Akinmade said, “It is not in the PDP government’s manifesto to provide free meals for the primary school children; our own programme is to provide quality and affordable education for our school children.

“That is why our government is investing heavily in education. We are making sure that education is free and we also provide free transportation that will be taking our children to and from the school every day. That is our own belief and our philosophy. APC is a party that promises and never fulfils it.”

Speaking further on the Federal Government’s free feeding programme, the commissioner said, “Before making promises, the APC didn’t do their arithmetic right, the issue of school feeding should not be a policy or ideological programme of a party.

“What they are supposed to do is to make education affordable and compulsory; the parents too will play their own roles. If you have a child in school you should be able to cater for him or her,” he was quoted as saying.

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