The Ministry of Finance waited until the last minute to discuss whether government employees will have medical aid or not.
The Patriot has it on good authority that the Public Service Medical Aid Scheme administration tender contract is set to expire on Sunday, 31 March 2019. Approved for the period of April 2010 – March 2015, the tender was extended until September 2016 and again further extended until 30 September 2017.
Then again, the tender was extended because of the requirements of the Procurement Act and again the administration came up wanting when the tender had to be extended yet again until 31st March 2019.
It would appear that the administration, who are part of the leadership of the Ministry of Finance failed to comply with the bidding documents of the Procurement Act and this needed rectification.
Executive Director for the Ministry of Finance, Erica Shafudah, yesterday confirmed that a meeting took place last week and that there was no outcome on whether the tender will be extended by the time of going to print yesterday afternoon.
When asked why treasury waited until the 11th hour to address the extension of the contract, Shafudah said that the Procurement Board was supposed to have dealt with the tender, as the tender amount falls within their delegation of authority.
“They are still deliberating, so I do not know what the outcome is,” the Executive Director said when asked whether the government employees will have medical aid on Monday.
Despite being fully aware that PSEMAS “has gross inefficiencies, which renders it unsustainable”, the PSEMAS Steering Committee which acted as the decision making body on PSEMAS failed to deliver a sustainable health care solution for Government employees and their dependants. Comprised of the Executive Directors in the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Finance and Health the reform project failed in part due to the unavailability of these Executive Directors due to the restructuring of Executive Directors at the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Health.
A PSEMAS reform unit in September last year recommended to the PSEMAS Coordinating Committee in terms of the Public Procurement Act of 2015, to consider approving the extension of the contract with Methealth until 31 March 2020. This recommendation was made to avoid “the scenario where a PSEMAS administrator is appointed in 2019, for a 5-year term”, the document reads.
The reform unit also considered the possibility of converting PSEMAS into a state owned enterprise.
“For now it is only the extension of the contract being discussed,” Shafudah said.
A report leaked to The Patriot notes that for nine years, the Methealth tender had never been subjected to an internal audit by the Ministry of Finance. Therefore, it continues to read “ one can therefore not objectively pass judgement on the value PSEMAS receives from Methealth for fees paid”.
The recommendations also stated that the agreement must be extended, if Methealth is willing to agree on the maintenance of a beneficiary administration fee of N$20.04 each, agree to thorough review and conceptualisation of its PSEMAS reporting format and frequency, agree to the conducting of an independent internal audit and the signing of a service level agreement that would be developed by the PSEMAS Reform Unit. The unit also recommended that a Service Contract with PSEMAS for one year be signed to reflect the extension and the terms governing the agreement.
It is unclear whether these recommendations were being discussed in yesterday’s meeting to decide whether or not to extend the agreement.
The fund that has more than 290 000 beneficiaries and is expected to receive a budget allocation of N$2,8 billion for the 2019/20 financial year. PSEMAS contributes to more than 65% of the private healthcare business in Namibia.