Minority in Parliament is accusing government of depriving the National Health Insurance Scheme its accrued statutory funds for the first half of this year.
This they say has contributed to crippling the Insurance Scheme and could lead to its likely collapse.
Speaking on the first day of debate on the mid-year budget review presented to the House by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson observed that more than GH¢300 million meant for the NHIS has been hoarded by government.
The funds he disclosed were accrued from the National Health Insurance Levy and a component of SSNIT contributions.
Ato Forson said this development wasn’t good for the scheme and suggested it has led to health institutions complaining about delayed payment of claims.
“The government collected revenue for the purpose of the National Health Insurance Levy, Mr Speaker an amount that was collected was GH¢568m. Again there is a component that should go to National Health Insurance amounting to GH¢246m being the SSNIT contribution that is to go to National Health Insurance but if you add the two the amount of money that is accrued from January to March is GH¢814m. Strangely Mr Speaker, if you look at page 61 appendix 6, the government has only paid to National Health Insurance GH¢509m and my question is that Where is the remaining GHC300m. Mr Speaker no wonder the National Health Insurance is on its knees,” Ato Forson said in his contribution to the debate.
Contractors threatening to lay off staff
He argued that government’s failure to embark on domestic capital expenditure projects has also rendered many contractors jobless and those with arrears unpaid.
To this end, Minority’s Finance spokesperson alleged many contracting firms and contractors are threatening to lay off workers since they have no funds to cater for their expenditure and are struggling to repay their loans owed banks.
“Mr Speaker my concern is that capital expenditure seems to be going down, contractors are complaining, Banks are complaining because contractors have taken monies from them for the purpose of financing the capital project but yet government is failing to pay them. Mr Speaker if you are to speak to any contractor today, the major concern is that government is failing to pay them and so they are going to go ahead and lay off their staff. Mr Speaker this is not good enough,” the Minority Spokesperson claimed.
Responding to the claims of low capital expenditure by government and non-payment of contractors, Bantama MP, Daniel Okyem Aboagye remarked that some of the contracts submitted to government are non-existent whereas others were shoddy jobs done.
He noted this has prompted government to take its time in verifying claims before paying to minimise the risk of paying claims to undeserving contractors and protect the public purse.