Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has explained that the reason the Federal Government decided to feed the pupils under the government’s school feeding programme while they are still at home as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic is because the food items were perishing.
Ngige, who spoke with reporters at Alor in Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State argued that even while the pupils are at home on the forced holiday, they still need to be fed, coupled with the fact that the food had already been budgeted for.
He said: “The school feeding homegrown programme is necessary as it makes it possible to feed a child with one quality meal daily for the development of his or her mental health.
“Second, those producing these food items would be enjoying a boost in their business. The cooks are also generating employment as they hire many hands to assist them.
“Besides, the food suppliers had been mobilised when the schools were in session and they bought the food, most of which are perishable. The cooks are also being paid whether they cook or not.
“So, in the wisdom of Mr President, he felt that these foods should be sent to the parents at home so that the continuity of its benefits will not be derailed.”
According to him, the distribution of the food items was being done through the state governments, adding that even the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development was not directly involved in the distribution.
He added that although he is from Anambra State, he does not even know how it is being distributed in the state.
“The way it was designed was such that the state government should appoint a focal person who directs the affairs. This is because it is the state governments that run the schools and they know the number of pupils in their schools.
“They also have the data and addresses of the parents,” the minister said.