By Chimezie Godfrey
The Federal Government has said that the National Home Grown School Feeding Program (NHGSFP) will be expanded to accommodate additional 5 million pupils in the country.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq gave the assurance on Monday in Abuja at the 4th Annual Review of the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP).
Farouq disclosed that the Ministry is working with Federal and State MDAs, INGOs, and NGOs to evolve policies that would support the institutionalization of the social investment programs in the Nation.
She said,”We have restructured the GEEP program and other NSIPs to align them with our mandate of providing fair focused social inclusion programmes to the vulnerable in Nigeria.
“Furthermore, the FCT has been included in the school feeding programme, while Kwara State is set to commence feeding in a few months time . The NHGSFP will soon launch a capacity building exercise for vendors and enumeration of all beneficiaries on the programme.
“Plans have been concluded for the exit and transition of the Npower batch A & B through the creation of the NEXIT portal, which would allow those who choose, to sign up to access other Government empowerment opportunities.
“A beneficiary management system for the NSIPs is expected to be deployed in 2021, which would have the capacity to manage payments, address grievances and improve dissemination of information.
“Additionally, you are aware that Mr President has approved the expansion of the NSIPs, as part of his vision to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.
“Thus the NHGSFP is to reach an additional 5 million pupils including children in non-conventional educational settings.”
The Minister stressed that the Npower program is to create jobs for a total of 1 million beneficiaries, while the GEEP program will provide loans to an additional 1 million traders, farmers and market people.
She revealed that the social register has been expanded to accommodate an additional 1 million households.
She equally pointed out that the ministry have launched the Rural Women Grant, which will reach women in 36 States of the Federation and the FCT.
The Minister explained that as part of the Economic Sustainability Plan, the Shock Responsive Social Register is to be launched, which would provide grants funds to 1 million identified vulnerable persons in urban areas.
“We have also successfully created and operationalized the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities to better manage the needs of our comrades who have special needs.
“It is therefore safe to say that we have been working tirelessly to ensure that vulnerable Nigerians are brought into the Federal Governments social protection umbrella which seeks to support, empower and level the playing field so that they are better equipped to handle economic and social shocks while contributing their quota to society and to the betterment of our great Nation,” she said.
Farouq noted that the National Home Grown School Feeding Program is an important intervention because of the multiple wins it is capable of delivering.
“It is a vehicle for reducing hunger, promoting educational gains, health status improvement and economic stimulation.
“Such Programmes are recognized as positive indicators for Countries who are on track to achieve sustainable development.
“The long term benefits to our children and the future of the Nation cannot be over emphasized.
“Thus we must resolve to remain steadfast in ensuring that this program reaches its objective and improves the lives of its beneficiaries,”she stressed.
“Each one of us here today, has been selected by different persons at different times to achieve the same goals which are to eliminate poverty in all its forms and uplift humanity.
“It is therefore not by coincidence that we have found ourselves at this forum together, to carry on with the work of assessing our efforts, identifying our weaknesses celebrating our strengths and encouraging one another to work harder, smarter and in a more transparent manner for the benefit of those who are under our charge,” she explained.
The Minister reiterated the commitment of her ministry to providing the necessary support and the enabling environment for social protection and inclusion policies to grow and take root in the fabric of the Nation so that future generations will thrive and succeed in a growingly competitive world.
She expressed optimism that despite the COVID-19 pandemic and its various ramifications, Nigerians have only become stronger with government’s resolve to protect those in need.
She therefore, urged all participants in the program to share knowledge so they could succeed in their shared objectives and fulfil Mr President’s vision.