Ghana’s opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has accused the government of illegally transferring over GHc17 million of National Health Insurance Scheme funds into a private fund management company, All Time Capital Investment.
“Our painstaking investigations have revealed that upon President Akufo-Addo assuming office, the National Health Insurance Authority without any due diligence and with indecent haste, transferred a whopping GH¢17,548,377.20 in three tranches to a private financial house, All-Time Capital Limited, supposedly as investment,” opposition spokesperson Sammy Gyamfi said at the third edition of the Moment of Truth Series in Accra on Monday.
“Incontrovertible evidence available to us indicates that, despite repeated efforts by the scheme since November 2018 to retrieve the invested funds and accrued interest, all time-Capital Limited has failed to pay back. In a recent twist which has angered some workers at the NHIA, All Time-Capital Limited informed the NHIA Chief Executive that it could only attempt some payments if the invested funds were allowed to run for an additional year. This situation is contributing to the worsening financial fortunes of the scheme. It is this same financial company, All Time-Capital Limited which was involved in the round tripping of liquidity support provided by the Bank of Ghana to Capital Bank that eventually culminated in the establishment of the collapsed Sovereign Bank. From the foregoing, there is no gainsaying the fact that, there is more to this transaction than meets the eye,” Mr. Gyamfi alleged.
He said the NHIS is collapsing despite government’s claims that it has cleared debt of the scheme.
“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 health care facilities in distress. For instance, the Daily Graphic reported on Thursday, 28th March, 2019 that the Central Regional Hospital is on its knees begging to be paid an amount of GH¢6.1 million owed to it by the Scheme, in order to settle its indebtedness to suppliers of critical drugs and medical consumables.
“This is just one example of how our health facilities are being crippled as a result of the huge indebtedness of the NHIS to service providers. Ladies and gentlemen, we have also taken note of persistent claims by President Akufo-Addo that his government has cleared a total of GH¢1.2 Billion NHI arrears it inherited from the erstwhile Mahama government. We wish to state without any equivocation that, this claim is mischievous and not borne out by the facts. After the Association of Private Clinics and the leadership of Government Hospitals disputed this claim, one would have thought that the President will desist from peddling this obvious deception. However, it appears President Akufo-Addo is determined to deceive the nation as far as this matter is concerned. Indisputable evidence contained in the 2017 NHIS Fund Allocation Formula presented to the august house of Parliament by the Minister of Health shows that, total arrears of NHI claims stood at GH¢425.79 million as at December 2016. This completely belies the claims of President Akufo-Addo and exposes him as a very dishonest,” Mr. Gyamfi said.
He added there is a sharp decline in active member of the NHIS contrary to what pertained during the John Mahama administration. He stated the scheme currently has 10.410 million people as against 10.786 million people in 2016.
“The above statistics depict the declining confidence of Ghanaians in the National Health Insurance Scheme and expose the dire straits that the scheme has been plunged into by the Akufo-Addo government,” Mr. Gyamfi stated.
Misapplication of NHIS Funds
On alleged misapplication of NHIS funds, the NDC said: “It is worthy of note, that even though best practice dictates the use of 75% to 80% of accrued funds to finance the scheme, the Akufo-Addo government is currently utilizing only 60.64% of NHI accrued funds for their intended purpose. This points to the misapplication of NHI funds by the Akufo-Addo government, and we can speak of several of such instances. For example, in 2018, about GH¢163 million of NHI funds were used to pay nursing trainee allowance. While the scheme continues to struggle, more than GH¢300 million has been projected to be spent on ICT, and another GH¢5 million is being devoted to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in 2019. This is a complete aberration from the core objective of the fund. The wanton misapplication of NHI funds stems largely from the capping policy introduced by the Akufo-Addo government through which over the last two years, more than One billion Ghana Cedis of NHI funds have been diverted for projects which are unrelated to the core objects of the scheme.
“Also, our checks have also revealed that, while the scheme remains cash strapped, Government is in the process of outsourcing claims management to a private firm with implications of more cost to the already burdened scheme. Friends from the media, these stark realities have resulted in the dwindling fortunes of the NHIS, hence its inability to address the crucial health needs of Ghanaians. We think that these acts of mismanagement of the NHIS must be immediately reversed to save the scheme from total collapse. Let me state that all the above statistics are contained in the 2019 Annual Allocation formula and other documents presented by the NHIA to the Health Committee of Parliament.
Members of the media, the above damning revelations must be a matter of concern for every Ghanaian. The National Health Insurance scheme, which was meant to be a safety net to cushion our people in terms of their healthcare needs is on the verge of collapse due to the mismanagement and recklessness of the Akufo-Addo government. The situation has gotten so bad that currently Service Providers are being chased away from their hospitals by unpaid suppliers and poor NHIS cardholders are being turned away from hospitals including government facilities. We must therefore unite in condemning this flagrant abuse of the scheme. The NDC will not renege on our responsibility of holding this government accountable for their mismanagement of the NHIS and the health sector as a whole.”