The Rwanda Parliament has approved a bill that will empower the existing Military Medical Insurance (MMI) to change its status from an insurance scheme to the statute of a specialized organ and fully-fledged institution.
The bill was presented November 8, 2022 by the Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Security after undergoing thorough review and making necessary revisions to suit the desired changes.
Some of the key changes include: opening its expansion potential, investments reach and decision in bringing on board other members and staff of other organs besides the existing ones.
The MMI insurance was originally initiated to take care of medical insurance for the Rwanda Defense Force personnel and their families but had with time opened doors to others organs like the Rwanda National Police, The National Security Services, Ministry of Defence (MoD), Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB), Rwanda Military Hospital (RMH), Armed Forces and Rwanda National Police Shop (AFOS) as well as MoD affiliated agencies such as Horizon Ltd, Zigama CSS, Mediasol and their eligible dependents.
MP Emmanuel Bugingo, Committee chairperson said that considering the importance and complexity of MMI business and the increasing pace of its activities, MMI needs much more flexibility in terms of decision-making and day-to-day operations management by entrusting its Board of Directors and its Management with the necessary powers to respond more quickly to the institution’s growing operational challenges.
Bugingo said that pertaining to aforementioned concerns, MMI should operate as a specialized organ and be given greater autonomy in the management of its assets and personnel, in order to be more efficient and comply with the various regulations governing the scheme of medical insurance managed by the institution.
“The statute of specialized organ will allow MMI to have the necessary autonomy in terms of recruiting and managing its staff and determining the procurement rules to achieve its mission,” Bugingo said.
As an insurance institution, MMI is a financial institution subject to the regulations of the Central Bank.
And due to the nature of being a financial institution, if MMI complies with the Organic Law N° 001/2020.OL of 08/06/2020 establishing general provisions governing public institutions, it will lose its aspect of being a financial institution since it requires MMI to become a noncommercial public institution.
While insurance activity managed by MMI falls into finance business activities as provided by the law, MPs were very concerned with Article 6- MMI Beneficiaries.
The article only stated that MMI beneficiaries are Rwanda Defence Force members and their dependents; other persons insured by MMI and their dependents, and the latter part opened debate on clarifications.
Parliamentarians asked what and why the law doesn’t categorically list all the beneficiaries and MPs Frank Habineza and Eugene Mussolini specifically wanted to know how the demobilized soldiers, vets injured on the battlefield and other persons working for security organs (guards) will or can benefit from this establishment.
The Committee chairperson, Bugingo said that these provisions will be provided by the bill that allows the Office of the Prime Minister (Orders) to determine the entry of new categories and how they can benefit from the insurance organ as it is seen in other bills.
Bugingo also noted that while the scheme is open to other institutions to come on board, it is equally open for those who choose to leave, but this will be made clear by the law determining MMI as a specialized organ.