The Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman Manu has told Parliament, he is unsure when arrears of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) would be settled.

According to him, the scheme owes health service providers and suppliers over eight hundred million Ghana cedis.

The backlog of NHIS arrears is one of the huge challenges that health service delivery in the country faces.

Responding to a question in Parliament from the Ranking Member on the Health Committee, Joseph Yieleh Chireh, the Minister, however, indicated that since his assumption of office, the monthly releases to the scheme have been paid promptly.

“Mr. Speaker …I will reiterate that the outstanding indebtedness to service providers as at the end of last month is 844 million cedi 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.”

The Minister’s comment comes a day after he revealed that the huge debt by the Mahama government is taking a toll on the sector.

According to the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, the Mahama government committed a debt of over GHC 100 million cedis which they are struggling to settle and concurrently run the sector.

“Those of us in the Ministry are working very closely with the Finance Minister to try to see how they can upscale some resources for us…The bottom line is that the previous government has committed debts not in the Ministry of Finance, just Ministry of Health…There is a debt overhang of close to about 134 million Ghana cedis as at the end of December 2016…The little goods and services that we got this year, we had to pay out of 53 million, 43 million to ensure that we pay for co funding to give us vaccines so that is the grim situation,” the Minister said.

NHIS is broke, we can’t pay our debts – CEO cries

The debt hanging on the shoulders of the Health Sector is also affecting the National Health Insurance Scheme.

The Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Dr. Samuel Annor a few weeks ago disclosed that the Scheme is broke and unable to pay service providers.

“The NHIA is at a stage where one will say it 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,” Mr. Annor said.