Deputy President William Ruto’s proposal for increased National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) monthly salary deductions for top income earners must correspond with higher transparency and benefits for contributors.
According to Mr Ruto, deductions of Sh1,700 per month from Kenya’s top earners is “too little”.
While the intent to boost the State insurer’s services is a positive step, the State’s push for any increase in statutory deductions from any group of Kenyans can only be justified by more accountability for taxpayers’ cash.
The NHIF needs to completely seal loopholes in its operations that have led to cases of fraud perpetuated by some of its managers and consequent loss of contributor’s funds. A cloud of doubt still hangs over a contract with Clinix Healthcare Ltd, even as it emerged this year that a senior manager was implicated in Sh3 million payments from NHIF to his own firm for outpatient services.
With this in mind, Kenyans have a right to be wary that an increase in deductions could lead to enhanced healthcare benefits, but that bigger coffers could also mean more money at risk of misappropriation.
Taxpayers’ funds, even if sourced from Kenya’s top income earners, are not a bottomless pit of free money at corrupt officials and the State’s disposal.