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General News of Thursday, 4 May 2017

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Government lazy, incompetent in handling NHIS arrears - NDC MP

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Bolgatanga Central has described the Akufo-Addo government as being lazy in the handling of payment of National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) providers.

Isaac Adongo waded into the recent controversy surrounding the government’s failure to make good its promise to pay the 12-month arrears owed NHIS service providers.

He said the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) called the erstwhile Mahama administration incompetent for its handling of the Scheme for the sake of making political capital when that was not the case.

Speaking on the AM Show on the JOYNEWS Channel on MultiTV Thursday, he said the Akufo-Addo government should focus on how to move forward the challenged Scheme.

Contrary to government’s promise to pay the 12 months arrears owed service providers under the Scheme, only one month's arrears has been paid, Joy News has learnt.

The GHS1.2 billion debt owed health providers is a drop in the ocean as some of the providers have threatened to withdraw their services.

During a recent 100-day town hall event organized by Joy News, the Vice President, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia announced government was going to pay the arrears owed the service providers.

Few days after, the Health Minister Kweku Agyemang Manu in a meeting with the health providers on April 19, 2017, also assured that the 12-month arrears would be cleared within seven days.

The health providers were cautiously optimistic in the face of the assurances but all that has given way to anger after they realised that only one month out of the 12 months has been paid.

The Executive Secretary of the Christian Health Association of Ghana, Peter Yeboah, told Joy News he is "disappointed, shocked and surprised at the turn of events."

According to him, some of the service providers have not even received the one-month arrears said to have been paid.

Commenting on the development, the MP said it is too late for the government to be discussing financing arrangements now after the budget has been read and approved.

The Bolgatanga Central MP said government should have seen it coming because it failed to make adequate provisions for the NHIS in the Budget.

“Given the expansion that is taking place and the projections of all the numbers over the next ten years, how do we have a solid Scheme?” he quizzed.

Mr Adongo cited government’s recent handling of payment of some civil servants as lazy.

He said it is no wonder that after President Akufo-Addo has said government cleaning up the payroll has saved the country some GHS45 million when “the ghosts are resurrecting.”

But speaking on the same show, MP for Ayawaso West Wuogon, Emmanuel Kyeremanteng Agyarko dismissed the claims that the NPP government is not committed to improving the financing of the scheme.

He said there was a clear roadmap for the next ten years but the former administration's mismanagement left the country in a quagmire.

Mr Agyarko is hopeful the Health and Finance Ministers will find a way out of the situation.