Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, on Friday inaugurated a fact-finding committee on National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and advised it to eschew bias in its assignment.
This is coming few days after President Muhammadu Buhari sent the Executive Secretary of the Scheme on administrative leave.
At the ceremony in Abuja, Mustapha told members of the Independent Fact-Finding Panel that NHIS had been involved in various crises, which had led to the suspension of its Executive Secretary, Prof. Usman Yusuf.
He said that the crises had also called for the scrapping of the Health Management Organisations (HMO) operating in the scheme.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is passionate about the health of the citizens; so, as part of the crises, it had become necessary to set up a panel that will investigate the infractions in the scheme.
“The panel has two weeks to complete the assignment and all hands must be on deck to ensure that you deliver to the satisfaction of the president,” Mustapha said.
In her remarks, Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Iya, assured the panel of her support and guidance in carrying out its assignment.
Oyo-Ita, who was represented by the Director, IPPIS, OHCSF, Mrs Anne Attah, said that all civil servants were enrolled on the NHIS and that its success was important for the progress of the civil service.
She expressed confidence in the Chairman of the panel, Dr Hassan Bukar, stating that as a former permanent secretary, he knew the rules and regulations of the civil service.
On his part, Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, commended the SGF for his prompt intervention in the NHIS issue.
Adewole promised to help the panel in speeding up the discharge of the assignment to enable it to deliver on time, adding that the problem of NHIS was deeply rooted.
“I promise to help speed up the process of the panel and once the report is turned in, it will be implemented immediately,” he said.
Accepting the responsibility, Chairman of the panel, Bukar, said that it was a rare privilege to be bestowed with such confidence and responsibility by the government.
He noted that the task was onerous, but assured that the panel would ensure that it delivered on time.
Bukar added that the panel would work assiduously to restore NHIS to its glory.
The panel will investigate alleged infractions listed by the NHIS Governing Council in its letter of Oct. 18, 2018 and determine the extent of culpability or otherwise of the Executive Secretary.
It is mandated to make appropriate recommendations, including on issues that led to the unhealthy relationship between the board and the chief executive officer of the scheme.
It will also investigate and make recommendations on the extent of involvement of staff unions within the organisation to the impasse between the board and executive secretary.
Mrs Jummai Idakwo, OSGF, is Secretary of the panel, which has Dr Emmanuel Meribole , Director, Federal Ministry of Health and Mr Adewale Owolo , Director, Audit, Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (OAGF), as members.
Other are Mr Shamsuddeen Bello, Deputy Director, Expenditure, OSGF; Mr Ishaq Yahaya , Director, Certification and Compliance, Bureau of Public Procurement and Dr Ekanem Udoh, Director, Science, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.