The Federal Government on Thursday warned that it would not tolerate “inappropriate practices or outright failures” that were capable of impeding the success of the National Health Insurance Scheme.
The government also said it had commenced implementation of the recommendations made by the independent fact-finding panel on the crisis in the NHIS. The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, stated this in Abuja during a stakeholders’ engagement organised by the NHIS for enrollees and health providers.
Ehanire said, “Significant improvement of the socio-economic well-being of Nigerians is very close to the Federal Government’s heart, especially in this second tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
“Therefore, no inappropriate practices or outright failures that are able to draw back the chances of government’s success will be accommodated. I urge you to embrace this meeting as a rare opportunity to address errors and failures of the past, and build from them a future of shared successes and glory.
“You will all recall that the NHIS has been of particular concern in recent times, following a protracted crisis with significant impact on its leadership and operations.
“However, the timely intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari has arrested the drift, with the appointment of a new Chief Executive, in the person of Prof. Mohammed Sambo, who has set up this platform and invited all of us, as well as the constitution of an independent fact-finding panel whose recommendations are currently being implemented by various units of the Federal Government.
“I am happy to state that I have received from the Executive Secretary, a thoroughly comprehensive briefing on the reforms that are going on in the institution. These reforms give me confidence that ultimately the NHIS will receive not just a facelift, but also a total revitalisation.
“It is on the strength of this that I wish to seize this opportunity to call on all stakeholders to take full advantage of the reforms to engage in frank conversations around the issues that have dogged the wheels of the scheme in the past, so that we can chart a better course as we go into the future.
“Of particular concern here are the health care providers accredited under the scheme, who are invariably very critical stakeholders of the NHIS.” News reported that a seven-man panel set up by the Federal Government to investigate the crisis in the NHIS had recommended the immediate dismissal of its former Executive Secretary, Prof. Usman Yusuf.
The committee headed by Dr Hassan Bukar, a retired Permanent Secretary, said Usman deserved to be dismissed for failing to explore internal administrative remedies before taking a former Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to court in November last year.
The panel, which recommended the 13 senior officers improperly seconded to the NHIS from other government agencies by Usman for immediate removal, also suggested the immediate dissolution of the Dr Eyanatu Ifienne-led NHIS governing council for suspending Yusuf when it had no powers to do so.
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