The presidency has dismissed claims made by Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti state that it required funds from the 36 states of the federation for implementation of the federal government school feeding programme.
Fayose had on Saturday June 11, said the school feeding programme of the federal government must be done without the proposed 40 percent counterpart funding from states.
In reaction to Fayose’s comments, the senior special assistant to the vice president on media and publicity, Laolu Akande said on Tuesday, June 14, said President Muhammadu Buhari has already approved the release of N93billion budgetary allocation for the first phase of the homegrown school feeding programme nationwide.
Akande who said that states’ support was vital whether they were able to provide funds in addition to what the federal government had, however noted that state governments would not be compelled support the programme financially.
He said: “We want the states to embrace this programme, it is good for the people, it’s a win-win for everyone. School feeding programme is not a counterpart funding arrangement model, no.
“What we have is a plan where the Federal Government provides 100 per cent feeding costs for pupils in primary one to three in all public primary schools in the country.
“The Presidency has made adequate arrangements for the HGSF to happen and by the grace of God, we are going forward to do exactly that.
“But what is interesting is the fact that some states have actually gone ahead to start the school feeding programme on their own, while some others are also making such a plan
Akande assured stakeholders that the federal government is willing to assist states unable to fund the school feeding in Primary 4 to 6 by feeding pupils from Primary 1 to 3.
He said that 5.5 million school children would be fed free of charge for 200 school days in the first phase of the home-grown school feeding programme starting this year.
Meanwhile, the federal government has barred banks in the country from giving loans to state governments. The move is to ensure effective and transparent management of sub-national resources.
Finance ministry sources said the federal government was disappointed at the manner some past and current governors took loans from banks and didn’t use it for the required purpose thereby plunging their states into perpetual indebtedness.
At the moment, some states are left with very little funds to meet their recurrent obligations, after deductions are made from their monthly federation account allocations.