Paidamoyo Chipunza Health Reporter
Premier Service Medical Aid Society group chief executive officer Dr Cuthbert Dube earned half a million dollars every month, almost twice the US$230 000 initially reported, when his generous allowances are factored in.The mega salary rivals earnings by celebrity soccer stars in the cash-rich Barclays English Premier League.
Dr Dube, who has since been forced to retire, got allowances equivalent to his monthly basic salary of US$230 000 plus a bonus of over US$1 million.
This brought his annual earnings last year to just over US$6,4 million. The annual wage bill of the 15 PSMAS executives for 2013 was a whopping US$18,6 million with Dube taking more than a third of this total.
PSMAS group operations executive Mr Enock Chitekedza got about US$2 million in 2013. Other executives pocketed slightly above a million dollars each over the year.
The other 13 executives were Ernest Gwinyai, Enock Chitekedza, Richard Mutasa, Cosmas Mukwesha, Juliana Sabarauta, Mavis Gumbo, Nicholas Munyonga, Augustine Khoza, Raphael Paradzayi and secretaries Joice Munyoro, Getrude Tsiga, Barbara Melusi, Fungai Nyamuzinga and Thomas Hama.
With a strong membership of 794 000, and assuming PSMAS collected US$7.50 as contributions from each member, the society collected US$72 million in 2013 with a third of that going on salaries for the top 15 people.
The salaries and allowances were approved by the PSMAS board of directors chaired by Mrs Meisie Namasasu, a director for implementation and control of expenditure unit in the Ministry of Finance.
Mrs Namasasu has since been dismissed for approving extravagance salaries at the expense of service delivery. Company secretary Mr Cosmas Mukwesha recently announced the slashing of salaries at PSMAS.
The new proposed salaries were expected to see the GCEO earning a basic salary of US$60 000 a month, and other group executives US$30 000 each. Some executives who were claiming school fees as high as US$48 000 a year were also reduced to about US$6 000.
Meanwhile, PSMAS has since reduced its debt from US$38 million to US$13,9 million. Mr Mukwesha said most claims in excess of two months have since been cleared.
“We are certain that once we get January contributions we should be able to clear the debt,” he said.
He said they were expecting at least US$14 million from Government and another US$3 million from the private sector.
Although PSMAS is yet to get its operating license for 2014, the card is still valid for use while they settle their financial issues.
Medical aid societies administer public funds. They operate as non-profit making organisations and are governed under the Medical Services Regulations (Statutory Instrument S1330 of 2000) administered by the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
As of last week, Government had renewed licenses of 25 societies to operate in 2014. Government is pushing for all health funders to settle claims within the stipulated timeframes so that no service provider denies treatment to a patient with a valid medical aid card.