Executive Secretary of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Muhammad Sambo on Wednesday solicited for the House of Representatives support for the passage of National Health Insurance Mandatory bill, just as he expressed grave concern over non-enrollment of National Assembly on the health insurance scheme, in breach of extant laws.

Sambo who gave the charge during the 2020 budget defence and 2021 budget proposal to the House Committee on Healthcare Services, explained that the sum of N191.7 million was proposed for maternal and child health project which would cover 15,184 lives across the country.

According to him, “about rolling out plans for this project, I made mention that this money came during COVID and that there are rules and regulations governing COVID-19, we couldn’t have gone out to spend a kobo. Once we go
into the community tomorrow and capture the number of people we deploy what’s payable by individuals to the mutual health organization to cover the enrollees for a year. We can expend this money within a space of four weeks. It’s not a problem.

“Mr Chairman let me say that the Senate passed the National Health Insurance Mandatory Bill and it has been transmitted to the House and we are craving the indulgence of the House now to help us in ensuring concurrence quickly because without concurrence it will be very difficult for us to have a total picture because we want to achieve universal health coverage.

“We recognized that the National Assembly is not enrolled in Health Insurance so by the time we have this accelerated Health Insurance we will approach the National Assembly to come and join so that we can have a very large pool of funds.”

While speaking on the 2021 budget proposal, he explained that “there is a total of six initiatives that have been captured under that. It has to do with the ongoing maternal and child health project which has been in the National Health Insurance Scheme for the past years, under this one we propose a total of N191.7 million with five per cent
administrative charge. At a premium rate of 12,000 per life per annum, the total number of lives to be covered under this initiative will be 15,184 lives.

According to him, “Chairman it has become a concern that money from NHIS was either loaned or deducted during the COVID. A lot of people raised concern that this a money meant for people that contributed to facilitating their healthcare and a lot of people called me to verify what’s the actual situation and what happened, is it true? And if it’s true is there any effort to turn back the money to NHIS.

“They’ve also raised issues on why you cannot utilize 2020 budget because of the COVID pandemic, how do you think that in the next three months remaining in the fiscal year you can catch up and ensure that what’s appropriated to improve the healthcare of Nigerians is utilized?

“During COVID, there was a deduction of N300 million that was done by the office of the accountant general, which we even complained to you and the Minister, we wrote a letter because we couldn’t see the reason why the constituency project money should be deducted

“I think NHIS having paid into the constituency, we wrote a letter they raised the mandate to pay us back, the deduction was done across sectors which are said to be a loan and we’ve made a complaint to Accountant General office and we’re told it’s receiving attention.

While speaking, Chairman, House Committee on Healthcare Services, Hon. Yusuf Sununu noted that the session was a constitutional mandate placed on the legislature.

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