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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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Government

FG Approves N1.85 Billion For Construction of Ebonyi Salt Lake Walls

The Federal Government on Wednesday approved a sum of N1.85 billion for the construction of walls around Ebonyi Salt Lake.

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The Federal Government on Wednesday approved a sum of N1.85 billion for the construction of walls around Ebonyi Salt Lake.

Briefing newsmen at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) council meeting on Wednesday, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite disclosed that the project will be funded directly by the presidency. 

The Minister further explained that the 27km retaining wall would contain the loss of raw salt from the salt lakes in Ebonyi State, saving at least $88m spent yearly on salt importation.

Investors King earlier reported that Nigeria spent at least N155 Billion within the last two years to import salt and other locally available products from Asia and South America.

Salt is one of the most common mineral resources in Nigeria. A large deposit of salt could be found in Ebonyi State. The state even prides itself as the “salt of the nation”.

However, Nigeria has not been able to successfully preserve and mine the large salt deposits. 

The Minister nevertheless disclosed that the wall which will be built along the lake will help to solve the challenges. 

“The salt is in Ebonyi State, of course, naturally, but it cannot be mined without this infrastructure that we’re about to do, we’re building a retaining wall because water comes in and washes the salt away every time. 

“These are salt lakes that occur naturally, so the salt is in the lakes, but when water comes in, it washes the salt away”. He noted. 

According to the Minister, the wall which has been awarded to Reinforced Global Resources Limited, at the sum of N1.85bn is about 27 kilometres long and about 2.9 meters high. 

The retaining wall project is expected to be completed within six months after which the process of salt mining from the lake will begin. 

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Nigerian Political Parties to Spend Billions of Naira as INEC Lift Ban on Political Campaigns

Political parties in Nigeria are expected to spend billions of naira in the next year’s elections as INEC officially lifts the ban on political activities. 

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2023 Presidential Candidates

Political parties in Nigeria are expected to spend billions of naira in the next year’s elections as INEC officially lifts the ban on political activities. 

It is about five months to the next general election in Nigeria where citizens will go to the polls to cast their vote for the candidate of their choice. Political parties are expected to spend billions of naira during this electioneering process as it was in previous elections. 

It will be recalled that the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed February 25th for the Presidential and National Assembly elections while Governorship and State Assembly elections will be held on March 11th, 2023.

Investors King understands that Nigerian previous elections were hugely monetised and next year’s election would not be an exception. 

A closer analysis of the presidential election shows that there are 18 Presidential candidates which will compete in 176,846 polling units. 

Going by the electoral laws and the previous election, all candidates are expected to appoint polling unit agents who are offered some token for their service. 

Investors King gathered that in the last elections, polling units agents were offered between N10,000 to N20,000. Using N10,000 as a variable, this means each of the leading political parties will expend at least N1.7 billion on polling unit agents.

Other areas where political parties are expected to spend money include logistics, public campaigns, posters and banners, courtesy call gratification and security among others. 

Besides, it is also expected that the leading political parties will engage in vote buying which could run into hundreds of billions of naira. Many Election Monitoring Groups (EMGs) such as Yiaga Africa have alleged voter inducement in previous elections. 

Political parties spend between N5000 to N10,000 to induce voters. It can be assumed that parties will spend more in the next general election since Nigeria’s voter population has increased to 95 million, adding more than 12 million new registered voters in the just concluded voter registration. 

Meanwhile, the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) has disclosed that the commission will spend N305 billion to conduct the 2023 election. This is different from the commission’s yearly budget which currently stands at N40 billion. 

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Nigeria Senate to Tax Unoccupied And Expensive Building Owners in Abuja

The Nigeria Senate intends to introduce a bill to tax unoccupied and outrageously expensive buildings in the Federal Capital City. 

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The Nigeria Senate intends to introduce a bill to tax unoccupied and outrageously expensive buildings in the Federal Capital City. 

The Chairman Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory, Senator Adeyemi Smart lamented that there were too many unoccupied buildings in the city despite being completed and built to taste. 

A check by Investors King shows that thousands of expensive houses are left unoccupied in Abuja, especially in high-net-worth neighbourhoods such as Guzape and Katampe Extension (Diplomatic Zone).

Smart Adeyemi made it known at a press briefing with members of the committee that the Senate will introduce a property tax bill on such buildings to mitigate the issue of accommodation in the capital city which has been a critical burden on average citizens. 

He said, “We have found that in this city, many houses are without habitation. There are a lot of mansions with no one living in them and no one is asking questions.

He added that the government will lock any uninhabited building and cause the owner to pay a fee to the government. 

“If you have built houses and they are unoccupied, we’d find out the reasons and tell the government to lock them up so that criminals will not take charge.

We’d propel legislation that will cause them to start paying taxes so that we’d use the money to develop the city”. He said.

The Senator also questioned why expensive buildings will be left unoccupied for years if the funds are from legitimate sources.  

It will be recalled that the ICPC Chairman Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, warned estate developers against serving as conduits for Illicit Financial Flows, (IFFS) at the commission’s 13th Annual General Meeting, AGM held in July 2022.

The ICPC Chairman further stated that the commission is currently probing completed and unoccupied estates in Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt, with the help of sister agencies.

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