There is no demand for the taxing of churches to support the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) CEO, Dr. Samuel Annor, has said.
“We went the country with organized labour, civil society; we spoke to so many people across the country. Probably it was at only one venue that somebody suggested that we tax churches to fund national health insurance,” Dr. Annor stated on Eyewitness News.
Financial analyst Sydney Casely Hayford suggested that the NHIA start taxing churches as a response to the scheme’s dwindling fortunes.
But Dr. Annor said such a move was “not a very popular option or a very common suggestion.”
He, however, admitted that the service was in dire straights noting that, “between 2009 and now, we have just been piling debts.”
He added that said the service had reached a junction where it needed “to take bold steps.”
“…To rectify the problems we have had in the past and move in a direction we don’t have to come back again and say we are having problems,” Dr. Annor stated.
The NHIA had submitted a proposal to levy tobacco and alcohol to fund the NHIS, as one of its “bold steps”.
Dr. Annor previously explained that the reason for the suggestion of taxing alcohol and tobacco is borne out of the fact that the nation is likely to spend more in treating people with alcohol and tobacco-related illness which will affect the programme.
According to the NHIA, its source of finance for the insurance scheme; 2.5 percent of Value Added Tax and 2.5 percent contributions from SSNIT, which amounts to $25 for each person per year, is inadequate.
The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman Manu is also aware that the NHIS is in danger of collapsing.
According to him, the Health and Finance Ministries are making frantic efforts to get new sources of investment.
“We need some new some source of investment and that is what we are engaging in… I’m working. Not only me but in collaboration with the Finance Ministry, to look at how we can get some new investments to put into health insurance.”
Other than that, Mr. Agyemang Manu said the “sustainability of it [NHIS] and what we can do to make it very efficient would become a challenge.”