Health Insurance Scheme proposes N32bn for 2017 operations

Abuja, Feb. 28, 2017.(TNE): The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has proposed N32 billion for its operations this year.

The Executive Secretary of the scheme, Prof. Usman Yusuf, disclosed this on Tuesday in Abuja during a budget defence before the House of Representatives Committee on Health.

Yusuf said the amount was targeted at providing health insurance for five million Nigerians in the hinter land.

He said in 2016, the scheme was restricted to total envelope of N129 million out of which only N54 million was released to the agency.

Yusuf said out of the released amount, N53 million was spent across the six geo-political zones on and children below the age of five, putting the 2016 budget performance at 99.9 per cent.

He said the Internationally Generated Revenue in 2016 was N58.8 million and that N17.9 million, reflecting 25 per cent, was paid into the federation account.

He said the organisation, however, was projecting N64 billion in 2017.

“In 2017, we are asking for N32 billion; currently, only four million Nigerians out of the 180 million are covered by the scheme.

“I have an aggressive progression to cover 10 million Nigerians but we are reducing it to five million Nigerians basically pregnant women and children under the age of five because of the economic situation.

“Our goal is to get out of Abuja into the hinterland to cover those that cannot cover themselves” he said.

In his response, Rep. David Ombugadu (Nasarawa-PDP), a member of the committee, tasked parliamentarians on the implementation of the National Health Act.

According to him, the Act stipulates that one per cent of the consolidated revenue of the country should be allocated to Primary Health Development Agency and the NHIS.

He said if the Act was implemented, NHIS would not be asking for additional funding but would be busy saving the lives of children and pregnant women.

The lawmaker observed that 2,300 children die every day, saying that parliamentarians must sit up to task relevant authorities to release the amount canvassed for by the scheme.

He said the House under the leadership of the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dugara, would do everything possible to ensure adequate funding for the scheme.

Also speaking, Rep. Babangida Ibrahim (Katsina-APC) said it would almost be impossible for the committee to generate N30 billion for the scheme.

He suggested that at the end of 2017 budget defence, the committee should work with the scheme and initiate how to improve on its funding ahead of 2018 budget.

The committee, however, commended the scheme for the zeal to transparently save lives, expressing readiness to partner with it in achieving its set goals. (TNE)

TP/BP

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