State lab appeals to provinces to pay their bills on time


The National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) urged provincial health departments to pay their bills on time, reported Business Day (10 March 2021).

Presenting the NHLS annual report for 2019/2020 to Parliament’s portfolio committee on health, NHLS board chair Eric Buch said if levels of payment drop by 10%, the NHLS would lose almost R1-bn in income. The NHLS receives almost 90% of its revenue from provincial health departments, which it bills for tests, and cannot rely on charging higher tariffs to push up its income. The NHLS generated a surplus of R1.082-bn for the 2019/2020 financial year and reported a cash balance of R4.1-bn. The Treasury announced in its February budget that transfers to the NHLS would shrink by an average annual rate of 12.3% between 2020/2021 and 2023/2024.

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