The House of Representatives committee on healthcare services has invited the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emefiele over N10 billion said to have been deducted from the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
Also summoned were the Minister of National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo-Udoma and the Director General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Mr. Ben Akabueze.
The deductions, which became a public issue just as the reinstated Executive Secretary of the NHIS, Prof. Usman Yusuf, resumed duty, had generated a fresh controversy at the agency.
It had initially been tagged as “missing,” prompting the House Committee on Healthcare Services summoning Yusuf on Wednesday to explain what happened to the N10bn.
The panel, headed by Hon Chike Okafor (APC, Imo) said the amount was domiciled at the CBN but appeared to be deducted ‘arbitrarily’.
The money was taken in two tranches of N5bn in December 2016 and N5bn in January, 2018.
Executive Secretary of NHIS, Prof Yusuf Usmam, speaking before the committee, described the allegations as “misleading and irresponsible”, stating that N10bn missing was deducted from the NHIS Treasury Single Account, as unremitted revenue, by the Federal Ministry of Finance between December 2016 and January 2018
He said the transaction was done in two tranches, with N5bn deducted in each of the transactions in December last year and January this year.
Yusuf said “In December 1, 2016, NHIS got a memo from the Federal Ministry of Finance stating that NHIS is a revenue generating agency.
“I went to the minister and the Accountant-General of the Federation and told them that NHIS is not a revenue generating agency. “On 28 December, 2016, N5bn was deducted from the NHIS Account; another N5bn was deducted on 11 January, 2018, totalling N10bn.
The money was deducted as surplus unremitted revenue from the agency. I don’t know whether it has been used or what it was used for,” he told the panel.
The committee chairman, Okafor said the panel would get to the bottom of the matter to ascertain how and why the amount was deducted.