General News of Mon, 7 May 201825
Cap on statutory funds 'badly affecting NHIS' - Mahama calls for a rethink
Former President John Mahama wants the Nana Akufo-Addo government to rethink its decision to cap some statutory funds insisting it is badly affecting the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
He said it is tragic that the Akufo-Addo government is not raising new funds because it made lots of campaign promises banking its hopes on the statutory funds.
Speaking at the ninth Unity Walk in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region, Mr Mahama said the decision will be counterproductive for the Scheme.
“If you take the capping and realignment, it takes almost ¢400 million out of the NHIS…then under realignment, they say you can’t spend another ¢300 million because they are going to use it to pay Nursing trainee allowance,” he said.
According to him, instead of the NHIS having ¢2.2 billion a year from the NHIS Levy it ends up with ¢1.3 billion.
His comment follows government’s decision to cap statutory funds at 25 percent of all government revenue.
This action has been met with fierce criticism but the government believes this is to free up some money for other important projects.
The former president claims the action explains why the government is unable to pay claims due service providers under the NHIS.
President Nana Akufo-Addo had said his administration is gradually reviving the Scheme, which was struggling under the Mahama government due to indebtedness.
He said, “of the ¢1.2 billion debt we [government] inherited, the equivalent of $300 million, we [government] have paid, in the last 15 months, ¢1 billion, the equivalent of $250 million.”
He added that payments to service providers, since his government took office in January 2017 had been consistent.
But shortly after the revelations, a number of health service providers started bickering over non-payment of arrears.
The Association of Private Clinics disputed claims by the government that the outstanding 15 months of the NHIS debt has been settled.
Spokesperson of the Association, Samuel Donkor Boachie, said members who are owed by the government are yet to receive any monies from the outstanding payment.
“We still have outstanding debt from 2016 up to 2018. There is four months backlog of debt from 2016, five months unpaid from 2017 and nothing has been paid for 2018,” he told Joy News.
The minority waded into the controversy with a suggestion the president may be wrong.
Citing figures from the NHIS fund allocation formula, a document submitted to Parliament, the Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mubarak said the total debt bequeathed to the NPP in 2016 could not even amount to half a billion.
According to him, in 2016 the total amount of arrears was pegged at ¢425.79 million.
He wondered where the president could be getting his ¢1.2 billion figures from out of which he claimed to have paid ¢1 billion.