$8m collected under Health levy

HARARE - Government has collected $8,2 million since January from a Health Fund levy of $0,05 for every $1 of airtime and mobile data, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has said.

To increase the tax base and meet his $4,1 billion 2017 Budget, which was flat on 2016, Chinamasa said the continued reliance on a shrinking formal tax base to fund critical sectors such as health was no longer sustainable, for both the taxpayer and government.

He then decreed that all economically active individuals contribute towards funding health services, with the resources raised ring-fenced for the purchase of drugs and equipment for public hospitals and clinics.

According to a financial statement of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, government collected $3,1 million in January,  $2,8 million in February and $3,4 million in March.

Government has also set up a committee to look into the administration of the health levy.

This comes as a massive shortage of basic clinical drugs at major public health institutions is unfolding.

The situation has been described by health experts as dire, putting the lives of many people at risk.

Basic pain killers are unavailable in hospitals and most rural clinics, where the majority of the country’s ever desperate communities live.

Most of the doctors at major referral hospitals are referring patients to private pharmacies, which are expensive.

The health levy was introduced under the theme “Talk, Surf and Save a Life.”

“I am encouraged to note the positive contribution of the health levy on air time, which I introduced in the 2017 National Budget and is already beginning to prop up resources for the health sector,” Chinamasa said.

Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa told the Daily News that the health levy is poised to improve drug supply in the country.

“We are happy with the health levy and that money can be used to buy drugs and equipment.

“The money is going into a dedicated account and we have formed a committee to see what the priorities are,” Parirenyatwa said.

Currently, 95 percent of the drugs stocks come from donors, while government is contributing just five percent.

The levy — expected to beef up the $281 million budget allocation for the Health ministry — comes as an added financial obligation for Zimbabwe’s mobile network operators.

Comments (1)

Can Chinamasa divert the Health Levy Fund so far collected for administration to Zinwa!!

Mukanya - 27 July 2017

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.