The state-owned entity that manages the country’s school nutrition programme has received its largest budgetary allocation in at least tenyears.
According to the Draft Estimates of Expenditure for 2023, which was laid in Parliament following Monday’s Budget presentation, the National Schools Dietary Services Limited (NSDSL) has been allocated $270,746,800 for the 2023 fiscal year.
This is an increase of $181.8 million from the amount the NSDSL received in 2022.
In fiscal 2022, the NSDSL received $88.9m from the Government.
The NSDSL’s allocation fell below the $200m mark for the first time in the 2020 fiscal year. In 2021, it recorded its lowest allocation over the ten year period when it received $12 million.
When the SNP is in full operation, approximately 54,000 breakfast meals and approximately 79,000 lunches are provided daily to students at over 800 schools.
The service is delivered by 68 contracted caterers located throughout Trinidad.
In February, during a Public Accounts Enterprises Committee into the organisation’s audited financial statements for the period 2016 to 2019, NSDSL CEO Stacy Barran said the programme cost $1.2 million.
From 2009 to 2013, the NSDSL obtained $1.7 billion in government subventions.
The NSDSL was incorporated as a limited liability company by Cabinet Minute No. 943 of May 16, 2002, to manage the School Nutrition Programme on behalf of the Ministry of Education.
The NSDSL reports to the Ministry of Finance, with the Ministry of Education as the line ministry.
One of the main objectives of the School Nutrition Programme is to provide a weekly average of approximately one-quarter and one-third of the Recommended Dietary Allowance of nutrients for children through the provision of breakfast and lunch respectively.