Government has said the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is quickly losing its credibility with the latest claim that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is collapsing.
Deputy Information Minister, Pius Enam Hadzide, said the party questioning government investing funds of the Scheme with a private financial house, All Time Capital Limited, is disingenuous.
He told journalists at a press briefing Tuesday that the investment was started by the John Mahama-led Administration in 2012.
“In fact, the placement of the first ¢5 million in a 365-day fixed deposit investment occurred on July 12, 2012. The NDC continued to roll over principal plus interest accrued and even made a further investment with same All Time Capital Limited.
“For the NDC to turn around and accuse the current administration, that ‘the NHIS without due diligence and with indecent haste transferred a whopping 17,548,377.20 in three tranches to a private financial house - All Time Capital limited, supposedly as investment’ is incredibly mischievous and unbecoming of a political party seeking the mandate of the people,” he said.
His comments are in reaction to the NDC accusing government of diverting ¢1 billion of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) funds into projects outside its mandate.
According to them, the monies are being used for projects which are averse to the core objectives of the Scheme at the time it is struggling to offset debts owed service providers.
They claim that the National Health Insurance Authority in 2018 expended over ¢160 million of the Scheme’s funds to pay nursing trainee allowances.
Another ¢5 million which has been devoted to corporate social responsibility for this year is a worry for the NDC who do not see the need.
These and many other allegations concerning the NHIA made by the opposition party were rubbished by the Deputy Minister.
According to him, allegations of the Scheme being indebted are untrue as the Akufo-Addo regime inherited a ¢1.2 billion debt left behind by the NDC which has been paid in full.
“The NDC also clearly confuses funding gap of ¢425.7 million with total claims arrears of ¢1.2 billion as at December 2016 when they were exiting office. For their education, funding gap is the difference between the total liability and the money that is due the NHIS,” Mr. Hadzide said.
On the issue of loss of confidence in the Scheme, the Deputy Minister said contrary to NDC’s assertion, the facts are that NHIS membership registration has rather surged from 18.6 million in 2016 to 20.1 million in 2018.
He added that the Scheme records approximately 75,000 mobile renewals weekly.
According to him, the number of credentialed facilities (healthcare providers who have signed contracts to attend registered NHIS members) has increased from 4,160 at the end of December 2016 to 4,520.
“For the records, we wish to announce that active membership of the scheme by January 2019 stands at 10,793,456 higher than the 2019 figure quoted by the NDC,” he said.
Government also rubbished the claims of misapplication of the NHIA Funds arguing that public funds are “fungible.”
“Government applies its resources according to its planned activities captured in a budget statement and approved as appropriation by parliament. The 2018 budget clearly stated that the funding source of the Nursing Training Allowance amounting to 311.98 million cedis was to come from the statutory fund at the Ministry of Health.
“How an expenditure captured in a budget statement and duly approved by parliament becomes misapplication can only be explained by the NDC,” he said.
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