Home » General » Govt Mulls Tax Hike to Fund Health Care

Zimbabweans should brace for more taxes as Government may increase Value Added Tax by 1 percent and introducing levies on tobacco, alcohol and mobile phone use to fund the National Health Insurance Scheme.Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Dr Paul Chimedza last week said this would see everyone being able to access treatment as opposed to the current scenario where only a few people were covered by medical aid schemes.

Deputy Minister Chimedza was answering a question in the Senate from Mashonaland West Senator Prisca Mupfumira (Zanu-PF) who wanted to know when a health insurance scheme would be introduced, considering that medical aid schemes covered a few people.

Statistics from the Ministry of Health and Child Care show that up to 90 percent of Zimbabweans were not on medical aid.

The new proposal comes after attempts by Government to introduce a compulsory health insurance scheme through the National Social Security Authority, which was supposed to have come into effect in 2007, were resisted on the grounds that workers were already heavily taxed.

“We have looked at various taxing models some of which I can share with you,” Deputy Minister Chimedza said. “We can introduce levies on toll gates to cover those involved in road accidents.

“If you want everyone to contribute, we can increase VAT from 15 to 16 percent and we collect the 1 percent and channel it to the fund. We can also tax cell-phone users because everyone uses a cellphone, including a rural woman.”

Deputy Minister Chimedza said alcohol and tobacco could also be levied to support the new health scheme that would result in people being treated for free.

He said the proposal by NSSA to increase levy from 5 to 7 percent to cater for the scheme was not tenable since it only applied to those who were formally employed.

The Parliamentary Portfolio Committees on Health and Public Service, Labour and Social welfare held a meeting last week to give the public and other stakeholders an opportunity to share their views about the proposed Government health scheme.

In another matter, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa said a Bill creating the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission was complete and would be tabled before the Cabinet Committee on Legislation soon.

Minister Mnangagwa said after presentation to Cabinet, the Bill would be gazetted before it is taken to Parliament for debate and passage.

Senator Sekai Holland (MDC-T) had asked Minister Mnangagwa to update the House on how far Government had gone in coming up with a Bill that gives effect to the Commission.

Source : The Herald