By Michael Adesanya/ Abeokuta
The federal government has been advised to address bottlenecks and bureaucracy facing stakeholders in disbursement of funds and food items in the school feeding programme.
The Project Coordinator of Women’s Consortium of Nigeria (WOCON), Mr. Olukunle Adeogun who gave the advice at a press conference in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital insisted that the bottlenecks was affecting in proper monitoring of the programme.
WOCON is one of MacArthur Foundation grantees partnering the state government’s Ogun Meals.
Adeogun disclosed that parents have been withdrawing their wards from private schools to public schools because of the programme.
He said the mandate of the NGO was to monitor and evaluate the programme in 40 schools across four local government areas of the state which are Abeokuta North, Ikenne, Imeko-Afon and Odeda.
Adeogun stated that his NGO would ensure that the number of students earmarked for the programme are wholly and properly fed with a quality meal per day as well as the budget for programme are judiciously utilised.
He added that NGO would also make sure that corrupt practices are tracked, reported and reduced in the process of execution of the programme and wastages curbed.
His words: “No doubt there are challenges encountered on the monitoring field and there are hiccups and bottlenecks here and there due to logistics and bureaucracy in government in the day to day disbursement of both funds and food”.
“This monitoring will take place from the tracking stage to the disbursement of funds while we are also to ensure that monies assigned for this project are properly disbursed and used for the purposes for which they are meant”.
“Principally, this is to strengthen local accountability practices in the school feeding programme, thereby reducing corruption and ensuring that the children beneficiaries of the programme are adequately fed with quality food during the programme ”
He said “We want to promise the ministry and the good people of Ogun state that we in WOCON will do all in our power to ensure that the objective and principal goal and the aim of the federal government on this programme is fully achieved and children beneficiaries fed”.
The State Commissioner for Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Mr. Adeleke Adewolu said the state has engaged 2, 948 vendors to feed over 270,000 pupils in 1, 510 primary schools across the state.
The commissioner who was represented by the Special Adviser to Governor Ibikunle Amosun on Information Communication Technology, Mr. Bummi Adebayo stressed that the vendors have been empowered through the programme.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Special Projects and Programme Manager, Mrs. Tinuola Shopeju disclosed that the programme has created 3,000 direct employment and 30,000 indirect employments till date in the state.
Shopeju who revealed that the programme has been meeting it’s objectives of enhancing pupil nutritional status, empowering women and increasing agricultural productivity.
She declared that the programme has been successful and success recorded so far must be credited to the effective monitoring and supervision of different agencies and groups, including WOCON.