We won’t pay 1% NHIS levy: Labour unions tell govt

Solomon Kotei

The leadership of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) has joined other labour unions to kick against the proposed extra 1% levy on Value Added Tax for the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

Government is seeking to increase the 2.5% NHIS levy on VAT to 3.5%, which is set to be announced in the mid year review budget.

But General Secretary of the ICU, Solomon Kotei said managers of the scheme should be transparent and disclose the amount accrued so far under the scheme, as well as how some funds have been misappropriated since the inception of the scheme.

“If what has been contributed already has not been accounted for, how should we be compelled to come and pay another one? Then again, the indirect taxes we pay apart from the VAT, you see NHIA on every product you buy in this country, and we have not been told how much that is contributing.”

Solomon Kotei further noted, “We have not been told how many graduate unto the scheme, and how many also leave by way of deaths. The data that will help us say this is the point of departure that we have reached, therefore we need some addition or not are not there.

“For the ICU, we are not satisfied on this call, and if anybody goes around to do it, we will get to parliament and let parliament know that this should not pass the test of time in our time.”

Managers of the National Health Insurance Scheme have already concluded nationwide consultations on the need to impose a 1%  levy on the scheme.

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The increase is expected to raise the needed revenue for effective operation of the scheme and to defray the cost incurred by the scheme.

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta is expected to announce the increment in the midyear budget review to be presented before parliament next week.

The ICU has, however, tasked the National Health Insurance Authority to consider another round of discussions with labour or risk creating mistrust among unions.

Solomon Kotei also argued that there are many foreigners who have taken advantage of Ghana’s system, and enjoying without paying anything.

“They only pay the subscribing fee, and then they benefit. They are not actually screened, and we should get to the bottom of the issues.”

Currently, unionised bodies like the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) and the Civil and Local Government Staff Association (CLOGSAG) have also not agreed to the one percent levy.

Source: 3news.com| Ghana