The government has paid GH¢539 million out of the GH¢1.2 billion debt it owes creditors of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) from January to date.
The creditors include service providers, contractors and suppliers.
Answering a question by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Wa West, Mr Joseph Yileh Chireh, yesterday, on when the NHIA would settle the arrears owed to service providers, the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman Manu, told the House that he could not tell exactly when all the arrears would be settled.
He said the government shared the agony and challenges of providers of health services and pharmacists that the NHIA was indebted to.
“We are working tirelessly with the Ministry of Finance to clear the arrears. For now, the Ministry of Finance is releasing funds, one month in arrears in accordance with the NHIA Act, Act (852),” he said.
Mr Manu said apart from arrears owed service providers under the NHIS, the Ministry of Health also owed other bodies more than GH¢100 million.
He said the arrears included those for the procurement of vaccines for 2016, GAVI co-financing for 2016 and 2017 and indebtedness arising from audit recoveries.
He appealed to all the creditors to bear with the Ministry of Finance, while it looked for funds to clear all the arrears.
Mr Manu expressed optimism that the service providers would continue to offer services to patients under the NHIS despite the indebtedness to them.
He expressed the belief that as the government had started making payments, the service providers had confidence that the government would clear all the arrears.
The minister said the government was working on the constitution and inauguration of the governing boards of the Ghana Health Service, Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and the Pharmacy Council.