Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The Governement Remits 61,64 million to Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS)

The Ministry of Finance has made strides in clearing its arrears with the Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) which could restore the medical aid society to normal operations.
Members of the country’s largest medical aid society were failing to effectively access health services due to delayed employer contributions.

Permanent secretary in the Finance Ministry Mr Willard Manungo told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Childcare that the ministry had remitted $61,6 million to PSMAS over the past six months.
Mr Willard Manungo
“PSMAS has been paid $61,64 million, that’s from January and this was against a bill of $71, 649 million. When we closed 2014 we owed them $11,65 million in terms of employer contributions. So then if you take the $10 million that we are supposed to do each month, January to June, that’s $60 million then if you add the $11, 65 million that we owed at the close of December you then get the $71,649 million figure. This only leaves us with $10 million outstanding on the employer contribution,” he said.

He said in total, Government owes over $25 million in outstanding contributions including $15,5 million in employee contributions.

“We are aware and it is regretted that we have not been timely providing the dues to PSMAS. This is because of employment costs that are taking over 80 percent of our costs,” the Treasury chief said.

Mr Manungo said Government was working on restructuring its National Budget to create breathing space for other programmes.

Last year, tax authorities temporarily garnished PSMAS bank accounts over tax arrears amounting to more than $40 million. But Mr Manungo said PSMAS had since cleared the dues with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra).

He said funds being paid by Government to the medical aid society would hopefully go towards breathing life into its struggling operations.

Earlier in May, the medical aid society instituted a policy for its members to pay cash to receive treatment, a development management said was necessary to limit the society’s debts to health service providers from inflating. PSMAS is being sued by a number of service providers for defaulting on settling claims.

But the move by the ministry to shrink the arrears should be a step forward in the medical aid society normalising operations, especially after indications that PSMAS had cleared its arrears to the Zimra.

“The Zimra arrears have almost been cleared. What we are now giving them should facilitate operations,” said Mr Manungo.

Mr Manungo also said the Treasury’s lack of effective monitoring of project implementation by several line ministries has led to gross misuse of funds especially in the health sector.

Lack of monitoring and evaluation was cited by parliamentarians who expressed concern on the way in which Government funds were used in different projects where some contractors where paid but failed to execute their obligations. Herald
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