Osun State Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, has given reasons why the state government cannot afford to stop school feeding programme.
The governor said this, while reacting to a news item published by a national newspaper (not the Daily Times) that the Osun State government might stop free feeding of school children, based on recommendation by labour leaders.
Labour leaders, under the umbrella of the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council, had given the recommendation, when asked to suggest ways through which Osun government could generate more fund.
But the governor explained that the scheme had been a source of creating employment in the state.
He also said that enrolment of pupils increased from 155,318 on May 31 to 194,253 in June 30, 2012, and December 2012.
The governor said: “The feeding programme has been one of our most socially impactful ones. How can a responsible government, like ours, think of reviewing a programme that has been adjudged as one of the best to come out of the country? Does that not stand logic on its head?
“We have been able to improve our state’s economy through the school feeding of over 250, 000 pupils every school day. The programme has directly employed 3,007 women and over tens of thousands of farmers in the state.
“Osun is attracting local and international attention for implementing an initiative that has not only increased enrolment in its primary schools, but has also provided jobs for farmers, majority of whom are women.”
Also, permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mr. Lawrence Oyeniran, assured the affected pupils and food vendors of the continuation of the programme.
Oyeniran said this while answering questions during a Yoruba weekly programme tagged “L’Agbo Eto Eko”.
He confirmed that arrangement had been made for all O-meals food vendors to also resume on Monday as usual and prepare stipulated food item in the O-meals menu table for the benefit of the pupils.