The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Tuesday criticised President Muhammadu Buhari’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy, saying it was stifling the operations of the Nigeria Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, gave this view at a meeting involving the newly appointed NHIS Executive Secretary, Prof. Usman Yusuf.
He said allowing NHIS to be captured in TSA would delay service delivery which borders on human health.
The umbrella workers union also sought for an investigation into the N90 million allegedly mismanaged by an unnamed Health Management Organisation.
Wabba said, “We are going to write to Mr. President to free the NHIS from TSA, because this is a specialised fund meant to provide service to workers in time of need. And therefore, it should not involve administrative process.
“There is usually no sickness that is predetermined. If Nigerian workers can part with the 10 percent of their medical allowance, it will be criminal for anybody or a group of people to misappropriate such funds”.
NLC also canvassed that the scope of the scheme be expanded to enable public servants who are the major contributors derive maximum benefits from it.
According to Wabba, the scheme should be made to cover other disease areas like cancer and other non-communicable diseases.
As part of the efforts to broaden the NHIS scheme, the NLC noted that the issue of community health insurance should be given serious consideration, adding that communities are needed to be carried along.
He urged the new NHIS boss to ensure that the issue of the missing N90 million is not swept under the carpet, urging him to report the case to the necessary investigating authorities.
“We are aware of the issue of misappropriation of money meant to provide services to the people by the HMO. I don’t want the issue to be swept under the carpet. We are aware that about N90 million is involved. We urge you to forward this issue to the agencies that are saddled with the responsibility of handling investigation, especially the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to serve as a deterrent to others.”
Meanwhile, the NHIS scribe, Prof. Yakubu, said that he had begun the process of re-engineering the scheme to achieve wider coverage.
Yakubu, who agreed that the scheme is not where it ought to be, assured the people of his determination to broaden its scope to enable more Nigerians benefit from health insurance.
He stated that seven states had already adopted state health insurance, while calling on the remaining states to key into the programme for the benefit of the people.