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Government should find solution to PSMAS debt

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VARIOUS health stakeholders have pressed the government to come up with a solution to the $144 million it owes Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS), as this affected mostly civil servants, who are the majority members.

BY VENERANDA LANGA

At a meeting of the Health and Child Care ministry and the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care and other stakeholders last week, a medical doctor, Shingi Bopoto asked the Health ministry secretary, Gerald Gwinji to explain how the government was dealing with its debt to PSMAS.

“PSMAS was allocated $120 million from the budget — and we need to know what is going to happen to the $144 million they [government] owe?” Bopoto from the Zimbabwe Medical Association asked.

“We are also told that government has taken over other debts like the Zisco one and is it possible for the government to take over the $144 million PSMAS debt and then liquidate it to those owed.”

Gwinji said the statutory instrument that was used to regulate medical aid societies had loopholes, which needed to be plugged out.

“We have proposed to come up with an Act and stand-alone regulatory authority. We need people with relevant expertise to critically look at health insurers and we have in consideration a Health Insurers Regulatory Authority Act, which is now going up through the systems,” he said.

Gwinji said he had no capacity to comment on how the PSMAS debt issue was going to be resolved, as it was the responsibility of Treasury.

Gutu South MP Paul Chimedza said the Health ministry should engage the Finance ministry to come up with a solution to the PSMAS debt as money was being deducted from civil servants salaries.

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care, Ruth Labode said the Health ministry should closely monitor how the $120 million allocated to PSMAS will be used to ensure it goes towards settling part of the government debt.

President Robert Mugabe has proposed a statutory instrument to take over the PSMAS debt a move that was strongly resisted by legislators.

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