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ICU to petition Parliament to stop NHIS levy increase

Solomon Kotei - General Secretary of ICU

The Industrial and Commercial Workers Union [ICU], of the Trades Union Congress [TUC], has served notice it will petition Parliament to stop the National Health Insurance Authority [NHIA], from increasing the NHIS levy.

The Health Insurance Authority has announced plans to increase the health insurance scheme levy by 1 percent, moving it from 2.5 to 3.5 percent.

However, the General Secretary of the [ICU], Solomon Kotei, in suggesting other viable revenue generation strategies for the NHIA, indicated that, the Authority should block loopholes in their system instead of raising levies.

Highlighting some challenges hampering the NHIA’s efforts at increasing revenue, Mr. Kotei said: “There has been a lot of malfeasance going on at the NHIA, and it’s not been made known to us through investigation. We were informed that a lot of people ran away to some countries. Have they retrieved those monies or it is gone for good? We have people who are benefiting from the NHIA who don’t contribute anything to it. I am referring to people from Cote D’lvoire, Togo, Nigeria and India.”

Mr. Kotei believes NHIA’s revenue generation will also improve if people in the informal sector are made to pay for services the Authority offers them.

“The typical informal sector is also not contributing anything .What are they doing to get them to also contribute to their own health? I am not saying they should pay the amount that we are paying, but once they are beneficiaries they should also contribute something to it,” he explained.

This is not the NHIA’s first attempt at increasing the levy. In September 2017, the NHIA indicated that, it had made a proposal to the government to levy tobacco and alcohol to fund the scheme.

The Authority had explained that, the proposal was one of the options of finding additional sources of funding to sustain the policy, since the 2.5 percent NHIS levy collected under the Value Added Tax (VAT), and the 2.5 percentage Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributions appear to be adequate.

By: Marian Ansah/citifmonline.com/Ghana

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