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Minority Laments Impact Of Capping National Health Insurance Fund

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The Minority in Parliament has bemoaned the negative impact of the capping of statutory funds such as the National Health Insurance Fund.

The Earmarked Funds Capping and Realignment Act passed in 2017, provides that funds from statutory sources like the NHIF for each financial year should be equivalent to 25 percent of national revenue.

This measure, the Minority argues, is depriving the National Health Insurance Scheme of the required funds.

The Health Minister was recently compelled to refute claims that only GHS127 million out of over GHS2 billion had been released into the National Health Insurance Fund.

Although the Minister could not tell how much was released into the fund, he indicated that a large amount was allocated to the fund.

Speaking at a press briefing, the Ranking Member on the Health Committee, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, called for an exemption of the National Health Insurance Fund from capping.

“The implementation of Earmarked Funds Capping and Realignment Act has led to a situation where the already underfunded National Health Insurance Fund is having to contribute to a Consolidated Fund to be utilised at the discretion of the Finance Minister instead of being used to manage the health needs of Ghanaians,” he argued.

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Background
When the Earmarked Funds Capping and Realignment Act was passed in March 2017, it was met with some criticism from the Minority.

At the time, the Deputy Minority Leader, James Avedzi, argued that the move would affect the operations of local assemblies with the reduction in allocations from 7.5 to 5 percent.

But the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, maintained that the decision was to ensure that the government had more fiscal space to undertake other key economic policies outlined in the budget.

There are currently eight earmarked statutory funds namely; the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF), the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF), Petroleum-Related Funds, Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund (GIIF), Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), the Social Security and National Insurance Trust, and the Road Fund.

The previous government varied its allocation to the eight earmarked funds year-on-year.

The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrissu, later argued that, at least, the National Health Insurance Fund must be exempted from the list of statutory funds that are capped.

He said the state of healthcare in the country required adequate financing, and as such the Health Insurance Fund must not suffer a reduction.

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