NHIS to sanction HMOs abusing the law
Paul Obi in Abuja
Amid the misgivings associated with the implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Tuesday called for full investigation of an alleged misappropriating of about N90million involving some Health Management Organisation (HMO).
President of NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, who stated this during a visit by the newly appointed Executive Secretary of NHIS, Prof. Usman Yusuf, also said the scheme should be liberated from the Treasury Single Account (TSA) to enable it’s function effectively.
“We are aware of the issue of misappropriation by a particular HMO, meant to provide service. I don’t want the issue to be swept under the carpet.
“We are aware that about 90million is involved. We urge you to forward this issue to the agencies that are saddle with the responsibility of handling investigation, especially EFCC where it can serve as a deterrent.
“We are also going to write to the president to free the NHIS from TSA, because this is a specialised fund meant to provide service to workers in terms of need, therefore, it should not involve administrative process. There is usually no sickness that is predetermined,” he said.
Wabba disclosed that the NLC is a foundation member of the scheme, stressing that there is need to strengthen the NHIS to carry out its mandate.
“NLC is the foundation member of the NHIS and I have also served on the board of the scheme. The mandate of the scheme is to provide health coverage to the entire Nigerian citizens.
“Because of the way the scheme structured , workers agreed to part away with the 10 per cent of their medical allowance. To drive the scheme. People think the money generated for the scheme is free money, but it is not; it is from the working people of Nigeria,” the NLC boss said.
Wabba called on the new Executive Secretary to sanitise the scheme so as to ensure coverage for all Nigerians.
“You have been appointed to sanitise the system. At a time, I even have a cause to write to the president about the sleaze going on, the the funds are from contributors. We expect an expanded scope of coverage.
“I assure you that NLC will partner you towards strengthening the scheme for universal coverage where every citizen of Nigeria will be covered by this scheme. The public service workers who are the Guinea pigs, would expect also that their package will continue to improve as the funds of the scheme get improved,” he added.
NLC frowned against using the funds to fund the building of private care centres because that is not the mandate of the NHIS.
“We are still on our position that those funds should be applied in line with the provision of the law. Any attempt to try to divert the funds will be highly resisted,” he said.
Speaking earlier, the new Executive Secretary of NHIS, Prof. Yusuf, disclosed that the scheme would soon put in place a mechanism that will sanction all HMOs involved in the abuse of the NHIS laws.
Yusuf explained that the era where impunity held sway was gone, as the new management team would ensure strict adherence to the laws governing the running of NHIS.
He cautioned all HMOs doing business with NHIS to desist from abuse of the extant laws of the scheme, as NHIS will no longer tolerate the neglect of its core mandate.
The NHIS boss said about seven State have agreed to domesticates the scheme for their workers.
Yusuf listed the states to include Delta, Lagos, Ogun, Kwara, Cross River, Bauchi and Kaduna, calling on other states to follow suit by ensuring that their workers are cover by the scheme.