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Govt has collected $8m airtime tax since Jan, says Chinamasa
20/07/2017 00:00:00
by Business reporter
 
 
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FINANCE minister Patrick Chinamasa has revealed that over $8 million has been collected from airtime tax since January this year under the Health Fund.

The 2017 budget introduced a Health Fund levy of five cents for every dollar of mobile airtime and data, under the theme “Talk, Surf and Save a Life”. The money collected is supposed to assist the struggling public health sector to procure essentials.

“Accordingly, $8, 2 million has been mobilised to date for the purchase of drugs and equipment for public hospitals and clinics, with Health Fund Levy resources ring fenced for this purpose,” said Chinamasa said on Thursday presenting the 2017 budget reviews statement in parliament.

Last week, during a World Population symposium, Health Parliament Portfolio Committee’s Ruth Labode demanded transparency on collections and how the Health Fund is being administered.

While the Health ministry put the figure at $6 million, Labode felt the figure was insignificant in a country with high mobile penetration figures of over 90 percent.

The public health sector is largely being funded by donors, a situation Health minister David Parirenyatwa has described as a risk.

Even the donors have told government to work on increasing its contribution to the sector amid competing needs including immigration demands facing Europe.

Presently, households are being plunged into poverty as they are forced to buy most medicines at high prices from private pharmacies after leaving public hospitals with only prescriptions.



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