Business News of Friday, 6 March 2015
The Ministry of Finance remitted over GH¢1.6 billion into the operational accounts of the National Health Insurance Fund for the 2013 and 2014 fiscal years.
Government transferred GH¢828.4 million and GH¢1.06 billion into the Fund’s account in 2013 and 2014 respectively for the payment of claims of service providers.
Finance Minister Seth Terpker, who disclosed this on Wednesday on the Floor of Parliament, said although Ghana’s economy experienced macro-economic challenges in those years, government was able to make substantial transfers into the Fund.
The Minister was answering an urgent question posed by the Member of Parliament for Berekum East; Dr. Kwabena Twum-Nuamah who wanted to find out how much was paid from the Health Insurance Levy into the Health Insurance Fund since January 2013.
The legislator expressed disquiet about the possible collapse of the National Health Insurance Scheme because of the delay in the payment of refunds to health institutions, which have indicated recently that they may not be able to render services to NHIA card holders if government does not reimburse timorously to enable them put in the required input for optimum healthcare.
Mr Terkper said the economy experienced setbacks which slowed down the economy due to disruptions in gas supply and energy, low imports commodity price hikes and the high wage bill resulting from the implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure.
He explained that this resulted in government restraining expenditure, and prioritizing transfers for some major fiscal commitments like the payments to the Health Insurance Fund, with statutory funds taking the biggest hits.
The Finance Minister said the accumulated arrears due the Health Insurance Fund was not solely dependent on releases but on the challenges that the economy was likely to go through, giving the assurance that the Ministry was making payments and clearing some of the arrears, noting however that this was dependent on inflows from the revenue collections.
He said the goal of the Ministry is to make releases for all fiscal commitments without delay, adding that government envisages that enhancements in compliance and completion of the automation of the processes of the Ghana Revenue Authority will help reduce the lags in transfers to the National Health Insurance Fund and other statutory funds.