Usually, the National Executive Council meeting is attended by the president, his vice and members of the cabinet.

But recently the Nigerian government hosted an expanded NEC meeting which had international development partners in attendance.

Are we hiring expatriates to run the government? No, the government is trying a new strategy to grow the economy since it appears many of their plans are slow in materializing.

They deliberated on how human capital development can be used to address the problems of health, education and financial exclusions.

One of the highlights was the Health Minister, Prof. Isaac Adewole’s blunt and open admittance that the sector has underperformed.

But that did not come without an excuse: “One of the major reasons why the health sector has underdelivered has to do with the level of funding.

“When you compare to many other countries, we have persistently over the years underfunded the health sector and because of this chronic underfunding, the sector has underperformed.”

With these uninspiring words coming from a man who has headed the health sector for two years, does this not suggest a lack of direction and hope? Should Nigerians not be worried?

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Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President in the Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande says to Nigerians, do not fret.

He was quick to describe the minister’s speech as one that shows the honesty of the government about the challenges facing the economy.

“We are not shy about describing some of the dire situations of the Nigerian economy, including the health sector.

“But we are also very bold in terms of the plans and programmes that we lay out and that is why we are having this kind of very frank discussion.

“We are trying to expand the National Health Insurance Scheme, trying to see how we can beef up the primary health centres across the country and equip them, taking health care delivery to the people and also improve on the tertiary level.

“We have very comprehensive plans. We understand that the situation is dire, and we are not trying to cover that up,” he said.

Mr Laolu Akande was the guest of Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily on Monday, March 26.

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