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The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman Manu has said he has no idea when arrears of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) will be cleared.
According to him, the scheme owes health service providers over GHS800 million and that the Ministry is working tirelessly with the Ministry of Finance to get the debt settled.
He said “It is a little bit difficult for me to be able to predict exactly when the arrears will be settled,” whilst responding to a question in parliament from the Ranking Member on Health Committee, Joseph Yieleh Chireh.
When pushed to make a commitment, he said “I will reiterate that the outstanding indebtedness to service providers as at the end of last month is GHS 844 million and as to when exactly this amount will be paid, Mr. Speaker it will be very difficult for me to tell the House. This is a very difficult issue, I cannot answer.”
According to the Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Dr. Samuel Annor the Scheme is broke and at the verge of bankruptcy.
“The NHIA is at a stage where one will say it is almost bankrupt; in that we have no reserves and we owe people so much. And this has come about because we have increased our membership so much but we have not increased the funding appropriately,” he stated recently.
President Akufo-Addo assured that his administration is targeting the next 18 months to clear the debts that have saddled the Scheme.
“The scheme has been threatened by mismanagement and by huge indebtedness. We are now having to liquidate systematically the arrears so that the service providers can be encouraged to provide services for NHIS cardholders.”
“I am hoping that within 18 months, all the arrears of the NHIS would have been settled so that we can have a secure future for the scheme,” the President said.