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24.07.2004 Regional News

Upper East VAT Secretariat sensitises stakeholders on NHIL

By GNA

Bolgatanga, July 24, GNA - Proceeds from the newly-introduced two-and-a-half per cent National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) would account for about 60 per cent of the total funds needed to run the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

The remaining 40 per cent would come from workers' social security contributions, allocations to the fund by Parliament, profits on the fund's investments and other voluntary contributions.

The Upper East Regional Officer of the Value Added Tax (VAT) Service, Mr. Huruna Sachibu announced this on Friday when he addressed the first in a series of sensitisation seminars on the NHIL at Bolgatanga for hoteliers, restaurant operators and service providers.

He said unlike the existing 12.5 per cent VAT on goods and services, the NHIL was meant to finance the NHIS, adding that "it is for the sake of convenience that the VAT Service has been authorized to collect the levy."

The seminars are being organized by the Service to educate various stakeholders on the new levy imposed under the National Health Insurance Act, 2003, (Act 650) on locally produced goods and services as well as on imports, except income on food products, rent and education, to sustain the NHIS.

Mr. Sachibu advised registered VAT collectors to make conscious efforts to submit their returns promptly to avoid being penalised, since the Service was expected to pay the levy into the National Health Insurance Fund within 30 days of collection.

He also advised the participants to streamline their record keeping to ensure the proper filing of returns and auditing.

Mr. Clement Asongo, also of the VAT Service, speaking on the implications of the new tax, said even though it was expected that prices of goods and services would go up slightly, introducing the levy would improve and make health care delivery more accessible to many people, especially the poor.

He said educational campaigns on the levy would not be a one-day affair, saying that the doors of the Service were always open for clarifications on issues.

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