By James Emejo in Abuja
The Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Ahmed Idris, Wednesday said the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is a public institution and must be subjected to rules of engagement applicable to public institutions.
He said the agency was also expected to key into all financial policies with no exemptions, adding that: “If you want to operate outside the rules, you are to seek approval.”
Speaking when he received the management of NHIS led by the Executive Secretary (ES), Prof. Mohammed Nasir Sambo, who paid an advocacy visit to him, Idris further urged NHIS to get enrolled into the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) as soon as possible as it remains the only platform to payroll federal government employees.
The AGF also said the NHIS issues with Aso Savings and Loan Limited would have been averted if the office of the AGF was carried along in the transactions.
He said: “Consequently, we need to populate your account department with treasury officers, otherwise you will face the consequences of your action.”
In a statement issued by the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relation, Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF), Mr. Henshaw Ogubike, Idris however promised to assist NHIS to get back its money from the mortgage company, adding that the issues of merger will be looked at to confirm the truth, stressing that NHIS should be placed under IPPIS.
The AGF said the OAGF is the main driver of public finance initiatives for the government like the Treasury Single Account (TSA), Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), a platform for making payment and preparing budget as well as IPPIS, a platform for paying salaries of federal government employees and other reform initiatives.
Sambo, however, said that the agency is one of the most important versatile agencies providing support to the people in terms of health care.
According to him, the NHIS remains the organ given the responsibility to handle healthcare in the country.
He noted that the federal government took a drastic decision to establish a presidential fact finding team in order to improve the health sector as well as a white paper which involved the Ministry of Health and OAGF to look into details of the financial situation of NHIS.
He said that one of the aims of NHIS is to achieve universal health coverage and also to ensure that the vote of NHIS is viable to capture the most vulnerable in the society, adding that the government will not be able to finance the health institution of the masses alone.
He also appealed to the AGF to help look into the financial system of the NHIS for the smooth running of the scheme and realisation of its mandate.