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No place for health insurance funding via telecoms tax, NHIA clarifies

By Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze, Abuja
24 May 2022   |   4:07 am
Contrary to media reports, management of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has clarified that the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) Act does not make provision for telecoms tax as source of funding health insurance coverage for vulnerable Nigerians.

Contrary to media reports, management of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has clarified that the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) Act does not make provision for telecoms tax as source of funding health insurance coverage for vulnerable Nigerians.

In a statement, yesterday, in Abuja, Deputy General Manager, Press, Emmanuel Ononokpo, said while the agency “understands the excitement surrounding the new law, it craves the patience of stakeholders and industry watchers, including the media, to wait for a formal unveiling of the document in days ahead.”

He said efforts to tackle high incidence of poverty and extend reach to indigent Nigerians with health insurance by 2023 had been boosted by the presidential assent to the piece of legislation.

The spokesperson recalled that for over two decades, industry professionals had sustained the call for amendment to the law, being a major impediment to the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Ononokpo pointed out that the Act establishes and empowers the NHIA to ensure provision of health insurance for all Nigerians through a mandatory mechanism, in collaboration with state health insurance agencies.

He said Sections 25 and 26 of the Act establish the Vulnerable Group Fund (VGF), indicating the various sources from which funding would be drawn.

“Furthermore, the legislation strengthens the NHIA to discharge a wide range of regulatory and promotion functions to ultimately ensure that every Nigerian receives access to quality and affordable healthcare,” he added.

Ononokpo also commended the Minister of Health, as well as the Senate and the House of Representatives Committees on Health for their invaluable roles in the enactment of the law.