School feeding programme is here to stay - MP Nyoro

He rubbished claims the Sh4bn initiative has been scrapped.

In Summary
  • Nyoro said the Sh4billion has only been reallocated from the National Council for Nomadic Education in Kenya (NACONEK).
  • The MP did not disclose the department that will manage the money saying reallocations are normal.
Budget and Appropriation Chair Ndindi Nyoro during a committee session
Budget and Appropriation Chair Ndindi Nyoro during a committee session

The National Assembly's Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman Ndindi Nyoro has refuted claims that the government has scrapped the school feeding programme.

This follows reports that the committee has failed to allocate resources meant to finance the programme in arid and semi-arid areas.

The programme benefits millions of children from vulnerable families by ensuring that they remain in school including those in the urban poor areas.

Against the backdrop of the fears, the Kiharu MP denied the assertions that there is no allocation for the programme in the 2024/25 budget estimates.

The committee is set to retreat to write its final report on the budget estimates ahead of the unveiling of the estimates next month.

The National Assembly will debate and approve the budget before the National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung'u reads the estimates.

The MP said the money has only been moved from the National Council for Nomadic Education in Kenya (NACONEK) to another state department that will now manage the programme.

Speaking on Citizen TV on Tuesday night, the lawmaker affirmed that the Kenya Kwanza administration is committed to continuing with the programme with a budget of Sh4 billion.

"Education seems to have been lost but if you look at the school feeding programme you'll realise that there is a re-allocation. Previously, the school feeding programme has been under NACONEK. The ministry is reallocating the same for the department to handle the roles and therefore I want to assure the people that this will continue," he said.

However, when challenged to disclose the department that will now manage the funds, Nyoro did not give details.

The proposed 2024/25 budget does not state which department will execute the programme amid concerns from stakeholders that there is a plan to scrap the allocation.

Nyoro defended the government’s new budgeting approach saying there is a deliberate effort to shift responsibilities in line with the executive’s broader agenda.

"The school feeding programme is there. For example, you find many things in the budget around Regional Development Authorities, that are not allocated budgets because the roles are changing," said Nyoro.

"This is not the first time; It's happening across the ASAL ministry where if you check the budget of Ewaso Nyiro North and South, Coast development, TARDA, and all agencies that deal with regional development they have also been changed to different areas. It is a normal thing and I assure you that the school feeding programme is there." 

During the Citizen TV Explainer programme, International Budget Partnerships Kenya Country Manager Abraham Rugo called for clarity and transparency in budget allocations.

"We need information on what is being reallocated to what and the rationale. Without a clear rationale, the Regional Development Authorities have been performing devolved functions. They have been playing a role between counties and therefore when you re-allocate from those, part of it is rationalising," he said.

"Think about the agriculture sector that has a significant allocation. Does it mean for instance that the allocation removed from the sector...livestock, for instance, has been moved to increase the allocations to county governments because they are responsible for that function? That is information we do not have."

Headteachers of primary schools have expressed concern over the alleged decision to end the feeding programme.

Kenya Primary School Heads Association (KEPSHA) North Eastern Chair Hassan Farah on Friday raised concern that should the proposal be implemented, learners will slowly stop showing up in schools. 

He said the proposal is as good as closing schools in the region. 

“The nomadic child is currently being attracted to school by the feeding programme. Food attracts and retains them. Many learners in ASAL areas will not attend school if there is no lunch,” he said.

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