By Max Patrick Ocaido
The National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) has scrapped off its employees’ spouses and children from the Medical Insurance scheme.
NIRA staff are now crying foul after the Authority announced that with effect from September 01, 2019, all dependants including spouses and children will be suspended from the ongoing medical insurance scheme due to lack of funds.
NIRA, has since Financial Year 2018/2019, been providing medical insurance to staff and their dependents. In this regard, each staff on the permanent establishment was allowed up to one spouse and 4 biological children while those on the interim structure were allowed 1 dependant (either a spouse or child) with hopes of improving on the same.
In a leaked email addressed to all NIRA staff, the Authority says that the medical scheme will now only cover the staff until adequate resources are availed for the same.
“Towards the end of the last financial year, the contract with our provider, Jubilee Insurance was renewed for another year. However, following the renewal, it was realized that the anticipated money to cover the scheme, which was expected in the first quarter of the 2019/2020 financial year, did not come as expected. As a result, the available funds could not cover all our staff and their dependants for the whole year,” the notice reads.
It adds, “Against the above, it has been decided, going forward, that only staff (both permanent and interim) will continue to be covered under the scheme with effect from 1st September 2019. All dependants will be suspended from the scheme until the necessary resources are found to cover all of them as has been the case.”
This communication has left NIRA staff aggrieved wondering why it is only NIRA staff who are affected and not all government staff in other institutions.
“The media should take keen interest in this because other government agencies have not eliminated this scheme. If it was about lack of funds then the entire insurance scheme could have been terminated, for now, there should have been an official communication from the institution to the Minister of Internal affairs,” a staff who preferred anonymity said.
According to the NIRA Human Resource Manual, all full-time employees shall be eligible for medical insurance for self, spouse and 4 children under the Authority’s Medical Insurance Scheme. Therefore, all employees are required to fill a medical form and return it to the Human Resource office, while employees who desire to enroll addition dependents on the medical insurance scheme, will be required to pay for their annual fees through salary deduction.
When NIRA Spokesperson Gilbert Kadiro was contacted, he declined to comment on the matter saying, “it was an internal matter which is not for public consumption.”
NIRA is a government-owned organisation, mandated to register births and deaths in the country and to develop a National Identification Register for both citizens and legally resident non-citizens.