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Reps call for audit of N187b FG school feeding program

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HOUSE of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts on Monday, expressed reservation with the sum of N186 billion reportedly spent on the federal government’s School feeding programme by the National Conditional Cash Transfer Office (NICTO), the coordinating office handling the project in the Presidency.

  Chairman of the committee, Busayo Oluwole Oke and other members of the committee while grilling the National Coordinator of the School Feeding Programme, Sinkaye Temitope and National Safety Net Coordinating Officer, Iowa Apera on the disbursement of the N64billion out of N186 billion said to have been so far spent on feeding the pupils, expressed displeasure over the development, describing it as outrageous and unacceptable.

  Consequently, the committee currently investigating the management and utilisation of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 demanded a complete project audit of the programme immediately. The lawmakers were enraged by a document submitted to the committee which showed that the NICTO office received a credit of $400 million from the World Bank, $321 million from Abacha Restitution and another $400 million said to be balance from the government equity fund.

 But the national coordinator told the lawmakers that the feeding programme had been on-going since 2016 when the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs initiated it and had so far gulped N186 billion in totality. She further told the committee that the budget breakdown showed that N63.2 billion, N32.2 billion and N124.4 billion were spent by the office in 2018, 2019 and 2020 respectively.

  Other committee members including Rep. Chudi Momah (Anambra- APGA) and Rep. Miriam Onuoha (Imo-APC) denounced the report saying that many schools and communities were yet to benefit from school feeding programme. Momah was visibly enraged as it was documented that 200,000 pupils from different families had benefitted from it from Ihiala Local Council Area of Anambra State which he refuted.

The Committe Chairman Rep.Oke, who also administered an oath to the national coordinator also said that the committee would look at the documents submitted, adding that the funds might not have passed through appropriation by the parliament.

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