The manager of the Aasandha Private Limited company Ahmed Shabig has revealed that 257 people have reached their entitlement limit of Rf10,000 for outpatient care provided under the recently launched healthcare scheme, local media has reported.
These 257 people will now have to pay for their own outpatient care, although they will still be entitled to other services as part of the Aasandha universal healthcare scheme introduced on January 1.
Shabig told Sun Online that an SMS text service had also been introduced that would allow people to check how much of their allowance had been used.
The scheme has come under fire in recent weeks after its current rate of expenditure has reportedly threatened to reach Rf1billion on an approved budget of Rf720 million. The government has anticipated its annual spending will be Rf2billion over budget this year as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned this week that economic growth and stability in the Maldives were unlikely to be maintained “in the medium term” unless the government substantially cut its spending.
Amid suspicions of corruption, the Majlis Finance Committee announced its intention to audit the scheme earlier this week.
The President’s Office claimed last week that figures showing 150,000 people had used the healthcare scheme a total of 250,000 times indicated something must have gone wrong with the system.
Despite the Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) claims that President Waheed’s administration intends to end the scheme, the government has stressed repeatedly that it aims instead to reform the existing system.