, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 30 – The Trade Union Congress of Kenya now wants the NHIF board to suspend the intended gazettement and implementation of the proposed NHIF Act pending determination of contentious issues.
This was after Deputy President William Ruto on Thursday announced that the new NHIF rates will be gazetted next week after an agreement with NHIF, Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) and the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU).
Ruto pointed out that the government will be restructuring the Fund as it seeks to grow the contributions from the current Sh3.7 million to Sh25 million in the next five years.
The proposed contribution will range between Sh150 and Sh1,700 per month depending on the workers’ income.
Among the proposals the union has presented to the NHIF board include that employees should pay 1.5 percent of their basic salary while the government contributes 3 percent.
The General Secretary of the union Wilson Sossion who spoke to journalists after a two-day meeting in Naivasha said they also want the composition of the board to be based on principles of corporate governance free from State interference.
“In Kenya it might be difficult to regain the trust of the public sector and of opinion makers. Funds for health care have in the past been mismanaged and abused through corruption,” he pointed out.
“NHIF deductions from salaries did not have any visible return in form of health benefits. There is a lot of evidence that funds meant for a genuine course were used to line the pockets of politicians and high ranking individuals in government and their friends as seen with the Clinics scandal.”
The union further wants the NHIF act to be amended to provide for equitable representation.
Also in their list of demands was that the Act be amended to provide for the exemption of existing schemes together with equipping of all health sectors before the implementation of the law.
NHIF board chairman Mohamud Ali on his part stated that they will organise another meeting in a bid to find common ground before gazettement of the law.
“The Fund is undergoing serious restructuring… these issues of corruption should not bring us down. The country is in a new dawn and we shall not entertain this,” he stated.
“There is commitment from the board and we will not entertain any corrupt practices in the Fund.”
He dispelled fears that the act will not be gazetted saying, “We will be regrouping again to fine tune what we have already agreed.”
On the 1.5 percent proposal he stated that, “it’s even lower than what is in force.”
Presently, salaried workers’ contributions to NHIF range from Sh30 to Sh320 based on the gross monthly salary and at Sh160 for pensioners and the self-employed.