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Govt Funding for NHIS Declines, but Money for Staff Salaries Increases

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The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) appears to be progressing steadily in retrogression, as the number of active members on the scheme dwindles while money budgeted for the salaries of staff increases.

Amidst the development, overall Government allocations to the scheme has also been decreasing steadily as time goes by.

The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) which has called attention to this, is blaming the Akufo-Addo Administration of incompetence, corruption and misplaced priority, for the development.

At the third edition of its Moment of Truth Series the NDC said the state of affairs at the NHIS is a mess that Ghanaians must rise up and demand reversal of.

Signs that there is trouble on the horizon, it said, include the fact that the NHIS owes service providers across all the sixteen regions of the country. The Cape Coast General Hospitals recently publicized distress call for money to enable it pay ghc6.1million claims that has led its suppliers to stop supply, was cited as an example.

Clear evidence that the scheme has become unattractive to Ghanaians, the NDC said, is shown in the fact that since 2016, the number of active members has been dwindling. In 2016, a total of Ghc10.786million active members were on the NHIS. This represented 39% of the national coverage of the scheme.

The number dwindled to 10.422 in 2017, representing 37% of the national coverage of the scheme. In 2018, the number dwindled further to Ghc10.410million, or 35% of the national coverage.

Within this same period however, the amount of money that Government has been allocating for the payment of the salaries of the staff of the scheme has been increasing. In 2016, a total of Ghc115million was allocated by Government for salaries and emoluments.

This shot up to Ghc132million in 2017. In 2018, the allocation was further increased to ghc168million. This year, the Akufo-Addo administration has budgeted Ghc211.78million for the payment of salaries of the NHIS staff.

Ladies and gentlemen, the above sharp increases in compensation are symptomatic of the general attitude of the Akufo-Addo Government when it comes to consumption expenditure. This administration wastes no time in expending our scarce resources on themselves in the form of jobs for the boys, at the expense of the suffering Ghanaians who voted for them, a statement by the NDC said.

The party also pointed out that in the same period that active membership on the NHIS has dwindled but allocations for the salaries of staff have increased, the Akufo-Addo Governments overall allocation towards the core administration of the Scheme has also been decreasing.

In 2016, the Maham Government had released Ghc742.11million to the NHIS. When President Akufo-Addo took over the reins of power in 2017, he decreased the amount to Ghc660.40million. In 2018, the Akufo-Addo Government allocated Ghc506.80million to the Scheme.

According to the NDC, the reason for the decreases in the releases is the misapplication of the NHIS funds.

even though best practices dictate the us of 75% to 80% of accrued funds to finance the Scheme, the Akufo-Addo government is currently utilizing only 60.64% of the NHI accrued funds for their intended purpose. This points to the misapplication of NHI funds by the Akufo-Addo Government and we can speak of several of such instances. For example, in 2018, about Ghc163million of NHI funds were used to pay nursing trainee allowance. While the Scheme continues to struggle, more than ghc300million has been projected to be spent on ICT and another ghc5million is being devoted to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in 2019, the NDC noted.

It also decried Governments intent to outsource the claims collection function of the Scheme to a private company, which the NDC said would put more burden on the finances of the Scheme.

Meanwhile the opposition party has said that President Akufo-Addos claim that his Government has cleared Ghc1.2billion of NHI arrears bequeathed to it by the predecessor Mahama Government is not factual.

According to the NDC, the Mahama Government had only left behind arrears of Ghc425.79million and not ghc1.2billion, challenging President Akufo-Addo to show proof of the clearance of the Ghc1.2billion.

Indeed, the 2017 NHIS Fund Allocation Formula presented by the Minister of Health to Parliament quoted ghc425.79 as arrears accrued to the NHIS as at December 2016.

Source: Whatsup News Ghana

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