…Query $5m Lake Chad Feasibility Study Fund
House Of Representatives Open Inquest Into Management Of Contributors Fund In The National Health Insurance Scheme As Well As Question Funding For Lake Chad Feasibility Study
House of Representatives yesterday mandated its committee on healthcare Services to investigate the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) over contributor’s funds and recommend ways of strengthening and protecting it from further abuse.
The investigation would look into management of the fund from NHIS inception. The House also mandated the committee to examine activities of health management organisations (HMOs) and their level of compliance with guidelines issued by the NHIS and report within eight weeks for further legislative input.
The resolutions by the House followed a motion entitled “Need to Protect Contributors to the National Health Insurance Scheme and Insulate the Scheme From Abuse” sponsored by Hon. Kingsley Onwubuariri and two others.
While moving the motion, Hon. Onwubuariri said, “the scheme, at all times, has ready made pool of funds to realise the aims and objectives of its establishment, but concerned that there exists a growing discontent among contributors to the scheme about the unsatisfactory services of, and harrowing encounters with the Health Care Providers (HCPs), in term of drug availability and administration.
“Thousands of eligible Nigerians, who have applied for registration as beneficiaries, have been unduly denied benefits from the scheme owing to administrative lapses, a situation that is bringing untold hardship to many Nigerians”, he added. Onwubuariri expressed concern that the estimated projection for 2015 by the scheme is 30 percent coverage but presently only 2.9 percent which amounts to about five million people out of a population of more than 165 million that have access to the scheme.
He said that the generality of the populace are not benefiting from the statutory contributions of government adding that many companies and individuals have pulled of the scheme because of poor services from hospitals. “The scheme should be nurtured to give real value for money to subscribers and enable more people in the unorganized private sector, especially the poor, to have access to the scheme by introducing new methods of enrolment, “he said.
The House adopted the motion after it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara. Also, the lower legislative chamber has mandated its committee on Lake Chad to investigate the $5 million granted to the Lake Chad Basin Commission by the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo for feasibility studies on how to divert rivers to the Lake. It has eight weeks to submit its report. This resolution by the House followed a motion sponsored by Hon. Ahmed Abu.
He noted that Nigeria’s contribution towards the commission’s annual budget was 40 percent while Libya holds 18 percent, Cameroon has 20 percent, Niger contributes seven percent, Chad has 11 percent of the budget while Central African Republic contributes only four percent.
Abu said that the environmental audit report on the drying up of Lake Chad, given by the Auditor-General of the Federation in October 2015, did not take into account the report of the feasibility studies. According to him, the transaction of such magnitude, paid for with tax payers monies, has not been given the due attention it deserves. The House adopted the motion after it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara.
– Dyepkazah Shibayan, Abuja