Health Management Organisations (HMOs) responsible for the alleged misappropriation of N350 billion meant for the implementation of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) would be prosecuted.
Rep. Chike Okafor, chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Healthcare Services, gave the warning on Tuesday in Abuja s when the management of NHIS appeared before the committee to defend their 2017 budget.
The Committee directed NHIS to halt payment of allocation to all HMOs pending the conclusion of the forthcoming investigative hearing scheduled for March.
Okafor expressed displeasure over the plight of Nigerians under the scheme, saying that their “hard-earned income were misappropriated’’.
He stressed the need for the legislature to ensure proper implementation of the Nation’s Health Act which provides for allocation of one per cent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) to the health sector.
The lawmaker also emphasised the need to ensure actualisation of universal health coverage for Nigerians especially children, women, vulnerable groups and the unemployed across the country.
The Executive Secretary of NHIS, Mahmud Yusuf, said that only 4 per cent of Nigerians were presently covered by the scheme, as against 60 per cent coverage recorded by Ghana and some other neighbouring countries.
He said that the management of NHIS is making efforts to clamp on defaulting HMOs.
Yusuf solicited the support of the committee to ensure adequate budgetary provision to the tune of N32.8 billion in the 2017 budget as against the N12 million approved in the 2016 Appropriation Act.
He said that over 60 per cent investments in the health sector were from the private sector and 00stressed the need for government to provide adequate funding for universal health coverage.
The committee resolved to investigate the ongoing rehabilitation of 1,000 Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) across the country, through National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHDA). (NAN)