HARARE – Government is in the process of setting up a special bank account for the health levy introduced in the 2017 budget.
Finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa, proposed to introduce a health fund levy of 5 cents for every dollar of airtime and mobile data, under the theme ‘‘Talk-Surf and Save a Life’’.
The Treasury chief said the resources raised will be ring-fenced for the purchase of drugs and equipment for public hospitals and clinics.
The measures were supposed to take effect from January 1, 2017, prompting Glen Norah MDC MP Webster Maondera to ask the Treasury chief what measures had been taken to ring-fence the $0,05 on airtime which will be used in the health sector.
“I am appealing to the minister that, if the money has been collected as a health fund please let us use it for health funding,” Maondera said.
Chinamasa said he does not want the health levy to be eaten up by any bureaucracy.
“So, I am going to create a special account into which this money will go and the next issue is, Treasury will just disburse it to the minister of Health for the purposes for which this levy is intended,” Chinamasa said.
“No boards of directors, nothing of the sort and no cars at all.”
This comes as medical practitioners now demand cash payments before providing the required services, due to the none or delayed remittances by medical aid schemes.
Consequently, the majority of patients fail to access health services, with donors now contributing more funds than government to the health sector.