Government has reacted to the opposition National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) allegation that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) was collapsing and described the allegation as full of “mischief.”

The NDC at a press conference on Monday accused the Akufo-Addo government of illegally transferring GH¢17,548,377.20 of NHIS funds into a private fund management company, All Time Capital Investment, which has failed to pay back the money.

The NDC’s National Communication Officer, Mr Sammy Gyamfi, said: “Recently in his state of the nation address, and while on a tour of the United States of America, President Akufo-Addo peddled blatant untruth when he claimed that the NHIS is ‘buoyant and has come back to life’.

“The truth of the matter is that the NHIS, very known to the President, is in a deplorable state and gasping for liquidity breath. Currently, the NHIS owes service providers in all the sixteen regions of Ghana claims covering a period of almost twelve (12) months. This has landed most healthcare facilities in distress.

Deputy Minister of Information, Mr Pius Enam Hadzide on a sharp rebuttal told journalists yesterday that “investments into private financial house, All Time Capital Limited by the NHIA were started by the Mahama-led Administration in 2012.”

“In fact, the placement of the first 5 million Ghana cedis in a 365-day fixed deposit investment occurred on 26th July 2012. The NDC continued to roll over principal plus interest accrued and even made further investment with same All Time Capital Limited,” he said.
He continued: “For the NDC to turn around and accuse the current administration that ‘the NHIS, without due diligence and with indecent haste transferred a whopping 17,548,377.20 in three tranches to a private financial house – All Time Capital Limited, supposedly as investment’, is incredibly mischievous and unbecoming of a political party seeking the mandate of the people. This further deepens the credibility crises that the NDC suffers”.

NHIS indebtedness

“The government wishes to state emphatically that this administration inherited a Gh¢1.2 billion debt left behind by the NDC. This debt has since been fully paid in full by the Nana Addo led government,” Mr Hadzide said.

He said the NDC also clearly confuses funding gap of Gh¢425.7 million with total claims arrears of Gh¢1.2 billion as of December 2016 when they were exiting office.
For their education, funding gap is the difference between the total liability and the money that is due the NHIS, he added.

Alleged Loss of confidence

On the allegation of loss of confidence in the scheme, Mr Hadzide said it was also palpable falsehood when the NDC says there is loss of confidence in the scheme.

“Contrary to their assertion, the facts is that NHIS membership registration has rather surged from 18.6 million in 2016 to 20.1 million in 2018.”

“Again it is also important to state that the scheme records approximately 75,000 mobile renewals weekly.”

He added that the number of credentialed facilities (healthcare providers who have signed contracts to attend registered NHIS members) has increased from 4,160 at the end of December 2016 to 4,520.

“For the records, we wish to announce that active membership of the scheme by January 2019 stands at 10,793,456 higher than the 2019 figure quoted by the NDC.

Increasing expenditure

Mr Hadzide said the NDC relies on budget estimates to make argument of increasing expenditure on compensation and described that as “obviously misleading and in bad faith.”

It should be noted that as a growing institution, the NHIA takes cognisance of the creation of six new regions. It should be noted that the NHIA has offices in only 175 out of the 216 Political districts.

In order to better serve the people of Ghana in the remaining 20 percent of districts, any forward thinking institution will plan for the creation and staffing of offices in those areas in accordance with the cash flow situation of the scheme within the year and that accounts for the current budget estimates on compensation, he said.

“To pick on this and allege wrong-doing on the part of the NHIA can only be an act of mischief on the part of the NDC,” Mr Hadzide noted.

Below is a full copy government's reaction

PRESS CONFERENCE BY GOVERNMENT.

Addressed by Hon. Pius Enam Hadzide

Deputy Minister of Information.

16/04/2019

RE: THE NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE SCHEME IS FAST COLLAPSING UNDER THE AKUFO-ADDO GOVERNMENT

Introduction

Ladies and gentlemen

Good afternoon and thank you for joining us for this press conference. We have invited you here today to formally respond to and clarify some issues on the National Health insurance Scheme that were raised during a press conference held by the opposition NDC yesterday.

At the said event the NDC indicated that the NHIS is fast collapsing but we want to again emphasize, as indicated by the President, His Excellency Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, at his recent state of the Nation address as well as his engagement with Ghanaians living in the USA, that the NHIS is buoyant and has come back to life with all the logistical and funding support by this government. The President didn’t peddle untruth and the President certainly doesn’t lie as the NDC would want the good people of Ghana to believe.

Government wishes to assure the people of Ghana that the NHIS is definitely not on the verge of collapse as claimed by the NDC

Let us now clear specific misrepresentations put forward by the NDC and present you with the true state of affairs with regards to NHIS funds

NHIS indebtedness

The government wishes to state emphatically that this administration inherited a 1.2 billion Cedis debt left behind by the NDC. This debt has since been fully paid in full by the Nana Addo led government.

The NDC also clearly confuses funding gap of 425.7 million Cedis with total claims arrears of 1.2 billion Cedis as at December 2016 when they were exiting office.

For their education, funding gap is the difference between the total liability and the money that is due the NHIS.

Alleged Loss of confidence in the scheme

It is also palpable falsehood when the NDC says there is loss of confidence in the scheme. Contrary to their assertion, the facts is that NHIS membership registration has rather surged from 18.6 million in 2016 to 20.1 million in 2018.

Again it is also important to state that the scheme records approximately 75,000 mobile renewals weekly.

Furthermore the number of credentialed facilities (healthcare providers who have signed contracts to attend registered NHIS members) has increased from 4,160 at the end of December 2016 to 4,520.

For the records, we wish to announce that active membership of the scheme by January 2019 stands at 10,793,456 higher than the 2019 figure quoted by the NDC.

Government wants to once again bring to the attention of the general public that effective April 1st 2019 the service tariff payable to credential institutions has been increased by twenty percentage points. This is to help improve on the quality of service rendered to members.

Ladies and gentlemen, how can these statistics provided be described as loss of confidence in the scheme.

Increasing expenditure

Ladies and gentlemen

The NDC relies on budget estimates to make argument of increasing expenditure on compensation. This is obviously misleading and in bad faith.

It should be noted that as a growing institution, the NHIA takes cognisance of the creation of six new regions. It should be noted that the NHIA has offices in only 175 out of the 216 Political districts.

In order to better serve the people of Ghana in the remaining 20 percent of districts, any forward thinking institution will plan for the creation and staffing of offices in those areas in accordance with the cash flow situation of the scheme within the year. That accounts for the current budget estimates on compensation.

To pick on this and allege wrong-doing on the part of the NHIA can only be an act of mischief on the part of the NDC.

Misapplication of the NHIA Funds

Public funds are fungible.

Government applies its resources according to its planned activities captured in a budget statement and approved as appropriation by parliament. The 2018 budget clearly stated that the funding source of the Nursing Training Allowance amounting to 311.98 million cedis was to come from the statutory fund at the Ministry of Health. (Appendix 6- Policy Initiatives/Priority Programmes and alignment to statutory funds) refers.

How an expenditure captured in a budget statement and duly approved by parliament becomes misapplication can only be explained by the NDC.

Scandalous Revelation- supposed investment with “All Time Capital Limited”

Ladies and gentlemen

It is also critical to clarify matters relating to the so called scandalous revelation on some investments with All Time Capital Limited.

It will interest you to note that the investments into private financial house, All Time Capital Limited by the NHIA were started by the Mahama led Administration in 2012.

In fact the placement of the first 5 million Ghana cedis in a 365 day fixed deposit investment occurred on 26th July 2012. The NDC continued to roll over principal plus interest accrued and even made further investment with same All Time Capital Limited.

For the NDC to turn around and accuse the current administration, that “the NHIS without due diligence and with indecent haste transferred a whopping 17,548,377.20 in three tranches to a private financial house - All Time Capital limited, supposedly as investment” is incredibly mischievous and unbecoming of a political party seeking the mandate of the people. This further deepens the credibility crises that the NDC suffers.

Conclusion

Ladies and gentlemen

From the above explanations it is clear that the NDC sought to peddle falsehoods with the sole intent to misinform Ghanaians.

The NDC and its leadership continue to suffer credibility crisis on several matters and cannot be trusted.

We will urge the good people of this country to support and cooperate with this government while we provide quality and affordable healthcare to Ghanaians.

Thank you all.