The Home Grown School Feeding Programme in Ondo State has been halted barely two months after it started, following alleged discrepancies in Biometric Verification Numbers (BVN) provided by the food vendors.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the vendors have been on duty since February when the programme was launched in the state, but failed to appear with the meals at the various schools, to the disappointment of the pupils and their parents.
No meals have reportedly been served the children in the last two weeks because the cooks had not received any alert from the Federal Government.
Each meal is served for N70 per pupil by over 1500 cooks.
The Ondo State government had said about N4.2 billion was projected for the programme in the 2018 budget of the state government as counterpart funds for the project.
The cooks have blamed their inability to feed the children on the non-payment of the funds into their accounts by the government for the period cooking was suspended.
Issues of low quality of meals and poor monitoring of the cooks had been identified during the exercise.
But the Commissioner of Information, Yemi Olowolabi, told PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview on Friday, that the feeding would hopefully resume “next week” when all the issues would have been taken care of.
He blamed the hitches on discrepancies in the BVNs of the cooks, which had made impossible to wire the funds to them electronically.
“Because as a government programme, payment is not made in cash, all the vendors were asked to submit their bank details so that monies can be paid into their accounts,” he explained.
“But the issues we have had so far has been that a lot of them submitted account numbers whose BVN numbers are at variance with their bank details.
“We have been making efforts to regularise everything, and soon we should be done with it and get back to work by next week.”
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