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Customs, Other Revenue Agencies Stink of Corruption, Adeosun Discloses

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  • Customs, Other Revenue Agencies Stink of Corruption, Adeosun Discloses

Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, yesterday, told the Senate that the Federal Government would sustain its over N6trillion national budget in the 2017 appropriation bill, expected to be submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari, after the consideration and subsequent approval of the pending 2017—2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF and Fiscal Strategy Paper, FSP, by the National Assembly.

Adeosun told members of the Senate Committee on Finance, led by its Chairman, John Owan Enoh, PDP, Cross River Central, who were on oversight visit to her ministry that government would maintain its over N6trillion annual budget because it spends over N3 trillion out of the budget sum for salaries, pension and debt services , leaving a paltry amount for capital projects.

She insisted that the country would be gambling with the figure for now as it can’t go below it anymore in the face of high expectations from its citizens.

Senator Enoh had told the minister that the committee’s visit was “actually driven by the collective decision of the Senate a few weeks ago that all its standing committees embarked on oversight visits to all ministries, departments and agencies of government.’”

“So, for us as a committee, in addition to having to respond to that requirement, it also became imperative that we embark on this maiden visit.

“Our hope is that on this visit, the minister, quite apart from giving us some highlights of the implementation of the Ministry of Finance budget in the year 2016,would also throw some highlights on few of some of the things that she feels the committee should know,especially the performance of our economy, no matter how briefly, and some things that we could take advantage of because we oversight her ministry, so that we don’t just hear as secondhand but hear as firsthand.

“This is October, the Medium Term Expenditure Framework is already sent to the National Assembly for approval so that the 2017 budget can come. We have a few revenue challenges, most of all is the performance of the independent revenue of government. So we think that the minister would take advantage of this meeting and be able to bring us to speed with a few of these things, “he added.

The Committee berated the minister for what it described as her poor handling of agencies under her watch, resulting in monumental leakage and loopholes.

”There are a lot of drained pipes and leakages in the customs, I don’t think that the ministry under your watch has given sufficient attention to the customs in particular, “Senator Hope Uzodinma, a member of the committee and Chairman, Senate Committee on Customs told her.

Responding, Mrs Adeosun disclosed that government’s efforts at realising money from revenue generating agencies to meet the expectations of Nigerians were being hampered by high-level corruption still existing in the agencies, especially the Nigerian Customs Service, which she described its men as “cohesive crooks hard to break.”

To this end, she solicited an urgent intervention of the National Assembly in curbing the loopholes and excessive leakage not only in the revenue sourcing agencies but also all other Federal Government’s agencies, saying they were stinking of corruption.

The minister particular disclosed that about two trillion from the budget was going out for salaries of workers and pension alone the sum of N1.4 trillion was also going out for debt servicing, saying the situation considerably slashes down the budget sum, a development she noted, made it impossible to downsize the budget.

According to her, doing so would mean forgetting capital projects and only concentrating on payment of salaries, pension and servicing of debt alone.

She was responding to the plea of a member of the Senate Committee, Joshua Dariye, APC, Plateau Central, who asked that the budget be trimmed down, so that government can focus on key areas of development.

Dariye said with the budget figure, Nigerians were expecting so many things and if they don’t see most of the things at the end of the year, they would believe that the money was misapplied or stolen.

“The Senate is worried over the issue of recurrent expenditures in all MDAs, especially on the issue of recurrent purchase of stationery and computers. I appeal to government to stop this so that economy can work. We should not be afraid to spend money because I believe that if we do a few things right, it’s going to give us results, “Dariye said.

The Minister said: “About the size of the budget, the point I would add is this:salaries on their own are about N1.8 trillion to N1.9 trillion and by the time you add the judiciary, the National Assembly, pension and so on and so forth, you are at two trillion. Add debt service which is about N1.4 trillion. So, if you want to bring down the size of the budget, you won’t be able to do very many capital projects.

“That’s the problem and that has been the vicious circle that has been affecting Nigeria for so long. By the time we pay salaries, pay debt, nothing is left.

“So, I think for this next few years, I think we have to take a gamble as a nation. We must take a gamble that look, if we fix our roads, fix our power, can we generate more than that additional cost. I think we can, from what I see of a country, I think we can. ”

We have things rotting everywhere, we have young people sitting down idle everywhere and I think we can. It doesn’t take a law to work out that if you put in infrastructures in place, these people can work. And one thing about Nigerians is that they are not lazy. When you give them opportunity, they will really try and I think we, as a nation just have to give them that enabling environment and let’s see what they can do.

Looking at the senator, she said, “I heard what you said about expectations because when people hear N6trillion, they will say ‘ah’, and it’s difficult to explain and most people will believe that when the project is not forthcoming, it’s because somebody has stolen the money. No, because the money didn’t come in come. So, we have to be careful, you are right that we have to balance it.”

Speaking on the issue of the Nigerian Customs Service, Adeosun, who admitted that the agency was financially bankruptcy, disclosed that her ministry was working with the Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Authority, to remedy its financial fate,so that it can live up to its responsibility of safeguarding the nation’s territorial borders.

She disclosing that the the moment, the customs has no scanners except the unit at Idiroko, she, however regretted the corruption stinks in the agency.

“On the issue of Customs, we are actually working very closely with them, they have some challenges. The general contraption in the economy has really affected their level of inputs-forex scarcity and so on.

“And also, they have some leakages which we are working with them to try and block. Largely, all their scanners are not working except the one in Idiroko.

“We have no working scanner in Nigeria, just one working for the whole country which means a lot of manual discretion in the assessment of Customs and of course, that brings in a lot of leakages.

“We’re are working with them now with Sovereign Wealth Authority to invest, to bring in back the scanners. But the scanners are in millions of dollars. Unfortunately, the one we had was given to a politician to maintain and he didn’t maintain them. We even even got in touch with the manufacturers but told that the person forced them to write it off.

“We are going to work with them to try to get this single window so that we can improve. We are the only country, even Ghana has a single window and when they implemented that, their Customs revenue went about sixty percent. So we are trying to implement it in conjunction with the Sovereign Wealth Authority because we have to look for money, Customs doesn’t have money.

On corruption in the agency, Adeosun said: “Colonel Hamid Ali is trying his best to try and instil some discipline but being an outsider in an insider’s place, is a difficult job. ”

In fact, we have an incident, we were there together. There was one transaction they blocked since February until I realized what their issue was and it took us less than ten minutes to unlock it. They are a very cohesive crook and very difficult to break but we’ll work more on that.”

2016,tough year for Nigeria:

“As you know, it’s been a very tough year for Nigeria, we have gone through storm, we went through the problem of oil price which went to as low as $28 a barrel and when it recovered, we entered into the problem of oil quantity, which is a more intractable problem to try and solve. Of course, it has hit performance very high at the worst possible time. But one good thing about Nigeria is that we have a very resilient economy and I think the fact that we were able to withstand this is a testimony to the resilience of the Nigerian economy.

“We have seen that we haven’t developed well at all with our oil money and we know that if there’s infrastructure, there’s so much that every single corner of this country that is so blessed can do. There’s no single corner of this country, that doesn’t have something growing or doing if only we could provide the infrastructures. And we believe that that is the most important thing for us to do if we can do that, this economy can develop and we can solve the unemployment problem.

Government has reached its limits of creating jobs

“Even when the economy was growing, when GDP was eight and nine, we had a massive unemployment problem especially our graduates. I’m sure most of us know that graduates stayed for up to ten years without job and the only sector that was really creating jobs was government and government now, has now has reached its limit, that a 165 billion amount, I don’t think government can reasonably employ any more people so we have to develop our private sector and to do that, we need infrastructures.

“So, this government is really set about driving infrastructures and that is what we have been trying to do. Everything we have trying to do, whether it’s been chasing ghost workers, whether it’s efficiency, it all end on one thing-creating that head road so that we can invest in infrastructures.

“We know that if you build a road, in 40 or 50 years time, it would still be there but when you go for training and you go and come back, it’s over. So, it’s a different kind of demand but we think that it’s the foundation of getting this economy moving and creating jobs for our people. So, we have embarked on that, we have been releasing capitals for roads, for power and for so many things.

“But we have uncovered some challenges , some of which I think we will be coming back to speak to you as a committee.

“Some of the contractors haven’t been paid since 2012, so they just sat on the money and little can they be blamed because their problem is ‘how do I know that this money I have, I would be able to get another one for the next four years.’ So, while we expect them to go back to sites, in fact, in some cases, the bank even sat on their money, didn’t even allow them access to the money at all. The the inspecting activities which everybody thought would be forthcoming has not been forthcoming, we have to solve that problem. I would be coming to talk to you on what we are proposing to do.
“We believe that most people in Nigeria, whether contractors, whether…., are owed something by the federal government and we have to sit down and sort it out. The same problem with the states, they too, are claiming that they are owed, the reason why they can’t pay is that they are owed by the federal government. So we need to have a discussion, deal with the problem so that the economy can move forward.

“There’s good news on the horizon in the sense that the prediction that the oil price will be as low as $20 proved to be false alarm and the prediction now is that the oil price will stabilize between $50 and $60, so what Nigeria now has to do is to balance her books so that if it is $50, even if it is $40, we will be able to balance.

“I want to tell you that most of the initiatives have really elicited a lot of savings. We have been able to reduce our payroll. The first payroll I saw when I came here was N165 billion and I think the last one I signed was N165 billion, it’s going down every month. We are removing ghost workers, we are removing dead people, we are removing those who should have never been there in the first place and that is a continuous exercise we must keep up.

“Honestly, we believe that government has to be very frugal with public money money because it’s scarce and this money belongs to everybody, so we can’t spend it any how. We have to spend it judiciously. I want to really assure you that we are committed to that because we can say that if we can complete one or two major projects, this economy can change.

“We are working very hard with the Ministry of Transportation on the rail project which will bring rail back from Lagos to Kano. That corridor will open up our agriculture, instead of carrying goods on the roads.

“We believe this will create a lot of jobs for our people. Similarly, we are working with the Ministry of Works for our new major road projects including looking at how we can maybe get some private sector money so that we can do some tar roads because we believe that when somebody spends five hours on the road, on a journey that should take one hour, he has already paid the toll, whether is not in terms of his tyre, or his petrol or his time or his health.

“So, if you ask that person to pay N200 and do that journey in 50 minutes, I don’t think Nigerians would have a problem. What we want is infrastructures.

“We have gotten together another public private initiative – the Family Homes Fund, which is private sector driven and the aim of that fund is to find a finances solution to housing development for low cost housing. Most of the houses are around N700 million or less and people will be able to put down just ten percent and park in and then pay the rest over up to 20 years under mortgage system.

“I want to tell you that I remain very confident about our economy. By this time next year, this economy will become a different economy. Just think within, don’t lose heart, we are going to be able to turn around the economy because now, the oil price is stable, we have stabilized our finances, a lot of the waste has stopped. A lot of the stealing has also stopped so it’s only for us now to start completing some projects.

Crisis in Niger Delta affects performance of the 2016 budget

“On the performance of the budget generally, I would want to say that we have a very high expectations. But the crisis in the Niger Delta has really hit us very hard, very hard and we cannot overstate it, very very hard. And any month where we don’t hit that revenue target, of course, that means we are borrowing to pay salaries which now is even worsening our problems because it means we cannot now do those capital projects. So there’s a challenge.

How revenue generating agencies frustrating govt

“Non remittances by the revenue generating agencies is a big issue, we have done a lot of work on it. We are auditing about 31 of the agencies and what we found is honesty very shocking, it’s very very shocking. That’s the only way to describe it.

“So what we have done is that we have drafted a template with the Accountant General and the Fiscal Responsibility Commission, we are working together on allowable expenses for agencies.

“For example, is it acceptable for an agency to say ‘I got N40 billion on behalf of a ministry?’ We believe that it should come through appropriation, you cannot say that you collect money on behalf of your parent ministry. That is how they are circumventing appropriation and I think that really has to be stopped.

“There’s so much laxity by these agencies that honesty we will need the National Assembly to urgently put eyes on them. I think if we do that, some of these independent revenues can come in and can be appropriated for. Now, they are outside the appropriation. And also, we saw a revenue sharing and some said they did PPP. What is the PPP? Somebody gave you a generator and as a result of that, he’s taking 40 percent of your revenue. That is not PPP in my small understanding of PPP, that’s just a way to take money out.

“So, there are so many loopholes which honestly, we we can plug them, I think we will have a lot more money to work. And the friction between the civil service men and other agencies could reduce because honestly, there’s a lot of abuse.

How National Assembly can help

“We will be sending that circular out to try an remedy it and when their accounts come, let them go an face the assembly when assembly would ask ‘why did you and your board members spent N50 million each in a years, why does somebody who was taught to go for training in Canada, go through about five countries before arriving in Canada and charge the agencies. It’s wrong but we saw a lot of that. So we believe this is an opportunity to open up on these things and we are looking forward to work very closely with you on these things.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Africa Needs USD 35-billion per Year  to Tackle Water Crisis

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USD 35-billion per year is needed to tackle Africa’s water crisis; South African firm Khato Civils announces African expansion and calls for AfCFTA to be the catalyst to build Africa’s water infrastructure.

The United Nations warns that the world could face a 40 per cent shortfall in water supply by 2030, with Africa – which already suffers from greater levels of water stress than other regions – likely to bear the brunt.

The economic impact of the shortfall in water infrastructure and supply is already severe. Sub-Saharan Africa currently loses an estimated 5 per cent of its annual gross domestic product (GDP) due to poor access to clean drinking water and sanitation, 5 to 25 per cent of its GDP to droughts and floods in affected countries, and 40 billion hours of otherwise productive time annually, collecting water.

Having delivered on sustainable water supply projects in the SADC region, South African-based construction and engineering firm, Khato Civils, has announced its intention to expand across the continent and play its part in tackling Africa’s infrastructure shortfall.

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), the world’s largest free trade area, came into effect in January 2021. It is expected to increase levels of intra-Africa trade by over 50 per cent by 2030 and offers the opportunity for increased Pan-African collaboration in major infrastructure projects.

In an interview with AfricaLive.net Khato Civils Chairman Simbi Phiri put forward an ambitious vision for African development facilitated by infrastructure development. “Problems like food shortages are not occasioned by a lack of food on the continent necessarily, it’s about our underdeveloped land and waterways. If we can step up infrastructure development, we will solve a lot of other problems as well,” says Mr Phiri.

“AfCFTA gives us a chance to have a business without borders.

We will now be able to go into places like Zimbabwe, Zambia and other countries to compete. It also gives us a chance to compete with multinationals from India and China in other African countries. The agreement will lay to rest some of the restrictions that were imposed by colonial legacies of the past.

The Data: Africa’s Water Crisis In Numbers

As the world becomes more populous, increased urbanisation, climate change and changes in food production are driving water demand at a rate that outpaces supply.

* Globally, 80 per cent of wastewater goes back into the ecosystem without adequate treatment, resulting in 1.8 billion people worldwide drinking contaminated water.

* Over 300 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa lack access to clean drinking water and over 700 million live without access to good sanitation.

* The world faces a severe water shortage by 2030, and Africa is likely to bear the brunt – as exacerbated by the impact of climate change.

* Africa’s water sector has an annual investment shortfall of USD 13 billion (urban areas) to USD 27 billion (rural areas).

* African countries lose between 5 and 25 per cent of GDP due to issues related to lack of water infrastructure.

The Opportunity: Every 1 USD spent brings between 3 and 24 USD of economic benefits

For every USD 1 invested in water and sanitation, there are direct and indirect economic returns to individuals and households, the health sector, and agricultural and industrial sectors, ranging from USD 3 to 34, according to the World Health Organisation.

If you look at big cities like Accra, their biggest issue is water and sanitation,” says Mr Phiri, “The same applies to other cities like Lagos and Kinshasa with power and roads coming a close second,”

Water and sanitation is without a doubt the main area that will boom in Africa in the short-term future.”

In order to unleash these economic benefits, Khato Civils Chief Executive Officer Mongezi Mnyani calls on governments to accelerate infrastructure development and foster public-private partnerships. “Political will is at the centre of it all,” says Mr Mnyani.

“Infrastructure initiatives must be government-driven because that’s where the agenda is set and major decisions are made. Governments must work collaboratively and also develop strategies that entice the private sector so that firms like ours have an easier time carrying out projects.”

The Water Sector in Sub-Saharan Africa Requires an Annual Investment of USD 35 Billion

While poor governance, mismanagement of resources, and a lack of environmental research have exacerbated water supply issues, insufficient long-term investment in water infrastructure needed to manage water resources and provide water services remains a key challenge.

The African Development Bank’s Acting Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Wambui Gichuri, recently highlighted an annual investment requirement of USD 35 billion per year.

Ms Gichuri also stated that a UN assessment indicates finance gaps of between 39 per cent for urban water supply and 78 per cent for rural water supply.

Derisking Africa in the eyes of global capital is key to closing that funding gap. Mr Phiri believes indigenous African construction and engineering firms – previously often overlooked in favour of international firms – have a role to play in building investor confidence, saying “I believe it’s all about getting projects done on time, within budget, and with proper quality.

“People will trust you more if you have a track record of delivering what’s needed with allocated funds.

“Risk comes in when we have companies that do not do what’s required of them with borrowed funds. Once we develop professional and social proof based on the work done with borrowed funds, it will boost our credit rating and make it easier for us to access more capital.”

Khato Civils Impact On Infrastructure in Southern Africa

Khato Civils has been making a mark on water infrastructure across the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region for decades, with Mr Phiri at the helm for about 11 years. “We took over the company in 2010 because we saw a niche area in South Africa,” he says. “Lots of South African companies were either being priced out of deals or running out of budget to complete certain projects. We also wanted to bring a special quality to the market in a way that exceeds what customers want and need.”

Also speaking in an interview with AfricaLive.net, CEO Mogezi Mnyani adds, “We may be based in Johannesburg, but we have offices in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Ghana and South Sudan. We are looking to set up offices in other regions as well because our vision is to diversify into other markets and offer our products to countries that need them the most across the continent.”

With Khato Civils’ ongoing expansion and 85 per cent of their staff based in local sites, the company is poised to expand Sub-Saharan Africa’s water infrastructure and supply, thus improving climate resilience and mitigating food security risks, pending greater investments in water infrastructure. “It’s not just about business for us, we work to ensure we leave a legacy by changing the lives of communities,” says Mr Mnyani.

Botswana’s 100km Pipeline Project

The government of Botswana is implementing the North-South Carrier Project to address water shortages in its growing capital, Gaborone.

The Khato Civils/South Zambezi/Evolution Engineering JV is designing and constructing a Transmission Water Pipeline of approximately 100km from Masama Well fields to Mmamashia Water Treatment Plant in Gaborone, to convey 64Ml/day of borehole water abstracted from both Masama East and West Wellfields. The project started in May 2020 and Khato Civils is rallying to complete what would normally require 2.5 years in half the time, as per the client’s wishes, and despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joint Venture with South Zambezi: Mmamashia Water Treatment Plant in Botswana

In connection with the above-mentioned North-South Carrier Project in Botswana, Khato Civils is working in a joint venture with South Zambezi to increase the capacity of the Mmamashia Water Treatment Plant to handle increased water pipeline flows. The project entails designing, building and equipping all protection for the water treatment plant to function effectively, critically examining the maximum water flows and associated pressures, design calculations and drawings, amongst other activities.The plant will treat a maximum of 110 megalitres of raw water per day.

Khato Civils and South Zambezi have a long-standing business relationship. This joint venture serves as a clear example of the type of collaboration African engineering firms can form to deliver infrastructure projects ahead of schedule.

Lake Malawi Water Supply Project

The Lake Malawi project was conceptualised as a long-term and sustainable intervention to water problems that have been affecting the ever-growing population of Malawi’s capital city, Lilongwe, for over a decade. Khato Civils won the USD 500 million water transfer project tender issued by the government of Malawi, beating six reputable companies from China, Portugal, South Africa, Italy and the United Kingdom.

Khato Civils is in a joint venture partnership with South Zambezi to extract water from Lake Malawi, clean and transport it to the Lilongwe Water Station, 124km away, before piping it to the city’s population. Khato Civils’ designs have been approved by the Malawi Water Board and the national government.

Shaping Africa’s Future With A Commitment to Green Building

The Khato Civils leadership also emphasises a commitment to sustainable engineering, construction and infrastructure development. “Our designs always have an element of green building in terms of energy savings, alternative sources of energy and local materials. We also research and look to bring in green technologies so that we ensure sustainability even as we build,” says Mr Mnyani.

Mr Phiri adds, “I believe our future in this industry, in relation to sustainability, will largely depend on solar energy. We want to be recognised in this space and we are moving ahead with sealing important partnerships with Canadian firms to get the right competencies. We see this as an emerging sector.”

Another of Khato Civils’ key service offerings is advice on cost-effectively executing projects from the design stage. “The importance of preliminary work before the execution stage is very important,” says Mr Mnyani. “We are resourceful enough and open enough for the use of various energy forms along the course of work. We have incorporated hydropower and even solar power, in the design, to ensure continuity at all times. We also believe in preserving natural sites, indigenous trees, graves and other important landmarks of countries.”

A Call For Transformative Partnerships

Khato Civils is now looking to both inspire a new generation of African engineers while accelerating its own development by forming new strategic partnerships.

Another big plus of the AfCFTA agreement is that fellow Africans will see an African-owned company like us that is well organised and accomplished and our success will rub off on them. Overall, the trade agreement provides a platform where trailblazing African companies can set the marker for the rest to emulate,” says Mr Phiri.

We look for competent like-minded partners and have found some in Kenya, USA, Italy, and other countries. The companies we work with have done business in far-flung areas, including Asia, and understand how to operate in sometimes unfavourable conditions.”

We are open to partners that have a passion for changing the status quo, care about African development, and are not just interested in profitability.”

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Energy Sector Stands With Equatorial Guinea as Explosions Decimate in Residential Areas

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Equatorial Guinea saw the loss of at least 20 lives and over 600 wounded following a series of explosions at a military base in the city of Bata.

The Energy Sector wishes to extend its full support to the people of Equatorial Guinea and appeals to the international community and fellow Africans to come together, lend a hand and #PrayForEquatorialGuinea.

Equatorial Guinea saw the loss of at least 20 lives and over 600 wounded following a series of explosions at a military base in the city of Bata.

The explosion which occurred around 4 pm on Sunday caused severe damage to numerous houses and buildings in Bata. In an official statement, President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo said the detonation was “caused by the negligence of the unit in charge of storing explosives, dynamite and ammunition at the Nkoa Ntoma military camp.” Furthermore, he explained that, “These caught fire due to stubble-burning by farmers in their fields which ultimately made these depots explode in succession.”

The head of state appealed to the international community for aid and acknowledged the vastness of the impact the explosions will have on the country’s economy – which has already suffered a major hit with the pandemic and drop in oil prices as an oil-reliant country.

“We are shocked by this tragedy and pain. We should not dwell on the past or get stuck in grief,” stated NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber. “No one is more resilient than the citizens of Bata and the people of Equatorial Guinea and, I am confident they will beat this. As a business community, we need to focus on supporting the government in its building efforts. It has to be rebuilt not as it had been, but this is an opportunity to build Bata as it should be,” concluded Ayuk.

In the aftermath of this tragic event, we urge the oil and gas community to mobilize their expertise, capabilities, and community resources to assist with the relief and recovery efforts in coordination with the government.

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NHIS Moves To Recover N10B From Heritage Bank and N11B Trapped In The Federation Account

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NHIS Moves To Recover N10B From Heritage Bank and N11B Trapped In The Federation Account

The National Health Insurance Scheme is making efforts to recover some missing funds estimated at about N27bn, Prof. Mohammed Sambo, the Executive Secretary of the scheme revealed.

While expressing optimism that the NHIS Amendment Bill pending before the National Assembly for passage would change the face of health insurance in the country, he said a review of the NHIS Act would allow the agency to enroll more Nigerians.

Sambo stated these in the progress report of the NHIS which he presented after a management meeting in Kaduna.

Sambo said, “We have about N11bn trapped in the Federation Account since 2014. We have been meeting with the Minister of Finance to see how to get it back. Also, we have been pursuing another N10bn lodged in Heritage Bank and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has been helping us to recover it.

“When there was COVID-19, N6bn was taken from the NHIS account without notice. So, we are working on recovering those resources and we have agreed at the level of management that a proportion of the money recovered will be put on strategic investment”.

The NHIS CEO also spoke on the progress made in improving the subscription for the insurance scheme, saying over 10 million Nigerians had now subscribed for it.

According to him, while about 10,269,996 enrolled into the scheme as of last Friday, the NHIS has been able to save money from its cost-saving reforms.

Sambo said, “The population of Nigerians that have enrolled in the health insurance scheme has risen to 10,269,996 from 6 million earlier reported by the National Demographic Health Survey”.

Sambo explained that as part of strategies to increase its subscriber base, NHIS has mapped the entire segments of the Nigerian population, including the Nigerian Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

The NHIS boss said: “We have mapped the population, and we are engaging the management of the NYSC to ensure that they are covered in the framework of the national health insurance scheme. You know that there was a presidential directive in the past that all NYSC members should be covered by the scheme, but due to budgetary constraints, it was not implemented”.

He stated that contrary to insinuation that NHIS has not been able to achieve much in terms of teaching universal health insurance for all in the last 20 years, “the major impediment is the law limiting its utilisation”.

Sambo said the best way to fund health insurance is by pooling resources through mass enrolling in the health insurance scheme at all levels.

The executive secretary said while appreciable progress is being made at the federal level, not much is happening in the state and local government areas in terms of enrolment into state health insurance scheme.

He disclosed that one of the recent decisions taken by the management is to ensure NHIS is fully automated to achieve seamless operations.

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