The government of Ghana is dipping its hands into the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Fund for other purposes rather than strengthening the health intervention programme, Casiel Ato Forson, former Deputy Minister of Finance and Member of Parliament for Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam, has said.
He told Chief Jerry Forson on Ghana Yensom on Accra100.5FM on Monday, 7 May that the government is paying trainee nurses from the NHIS fund, an action he said should not be countenanced because the money was for specific purposes under the scheme.
“The Chief Executive of the National Health Insurance Fund came to Parliament recently with a formula and in that formula it was stated there that the government is dipping its hands into the NHIS funds for other uses.”
He added: “The NHIS fund draws money from the Value Added Tax (VAT). 2.5 per cent of the VAT goes into the NHIS levy. Also, there is a percentage from SSNIT that goes into the fund
“The VAT gives about GHS1.4 billion and if what is generated from the SSNIT is added, it gives us GHS 2.2 billion. Now the government recently, introduced a capping law that allows them to take money from the fund for other purposes. So, they took out GHS 833 million from that 2.2 billion, leaving GHS 1.4 billion in the fund. Out of the remaining GHS1.4 billion, the government decided to use GHS3.3 million to pay the nurse training allowances.”
“And, so, you ask yourself: ‘What is happening?’. The government is really collapsing the NHIS,” he said.
But responding to these claims on the same programme, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Dr Samuel Annor, denied these claims by Mr Forson.
He said the NHIA’s budget for 2017 was released and the authority is working accordingly with the money.
According to him, an amount of GHS 2.3billion was released by the government last year to pay debts owed the service providers.
Dr Annor said: “In 2017, an amount of GHS 2.3 billion was approved by parliament and released by the Finance Ministry to enable the NHIA carry out its work.
“That includes payment of money owed service providers, and, so, as we speak, some of them have been paid and others are being paid.”
He added: “The 2018 budget is yet to come, when it comes I am sure all the debts will be paid.”