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Minority accuses government of engaging in illegality

BY: Musah Yahaya Jafaru
Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh
Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh

The Minority in Parliament has accused the government of engaging in illegality by seeking parliamentary approval for the formula for disbursement of the National Health Insurance Fund without a prior approval by a governing board of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).

It called on the Minister of Health to withdraw the 2017 NHIA formula from Parliament with immediate effect.

Addressing the media, the Ranking Member on the Health Committee, Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh, said the Minority would not accept any referral from the NHIA or the Ministry of Health on the issue until a governing board had been properly and duly constituted.

Proposed formula

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He said the proposed formula for the disbursement of the fund was laid before Parliament on June 20, 2017 and referred to the committee.

He said when copies of the proposed formula were distributed to members, "we on the Minority side were taken aback because the NHIA currently has no governing board.”

That attitude, Mr Yieleh Chireh said, violated the National Health Insurance Act, 2012 (Act 852)

"As per Section 42 of Act 852, the Act establishing the NHIA, the formula is to be presented to the House after the board of the NHIA has considered and approved it.

"In the absence of the board of the NHIA, approval of the formula will be illegal and against the NHIA Act 2012 (Act 852).

Incompetence

Mr Yieleh Chireh said the failure of the Ministry of Health and the government to constitute a governing board for the NHIA six months after taking power "is either a demonstration of incompetence or a lack of urgency contrary to the claim by the President that he is a man in a hurry."

He said the failure to adhere to laid down procedure and disrespect for laws, institutions and structures in seeking approval for the 2017 NHIA formula was yet another manifestation of the lawlessness that had characterised the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration.

That, he said, was despite the self-touting of its credentials as a political party that believed in the rule of law.