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28.07.2004 Health

VAT Service educates Civil Servants on Health Insurance Levy

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Bolgatanga, July 28, GNA- The duty of collecting the National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) has been added to that of the Value Added Tax (VAT) secretariat for convenience and cost effectiveness. Mr. Haruna Sachibu, Upper East Regional Head of the VAT Services, said this at a day's sensitisation programme for civil servants in the Bolgatanga Municipality on Wednesday.

Participants were from the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), the Non-Formal Education Division (NFED) of the Ghana Education Service (GES), the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) the Information Services Department (ISD) and representatives from media organizations on the NHIL.

He said the 2.5 per cent levy imposed on goods and services as demanded by the NHIL Law was not an increase on VAT and that the two were different because whereas the VAT was established by Act 546 of 1988, the NHIL, which is a levy, owed its existence to Act 650 of 2003. He explained that whilst VAT collections were paid into the consolidated fund, the NHIL contributions would deposited in a separate account to be handled by the National Health Insurance Council (NHIC) and to be utilized only for the implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

Mr. Sachibu noted that the benefits of the NHIS were without question, describing the scheme as a "welcome opportunity to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor as far as access to quality health service was concerned".

He added that the successful implementation of the Scheme, however, would depend on the availability of adequate funds from contributions through the NHIL.

He, therefore, called on registered VAT collecting businesses in the region to approach NHIL with all seriousness.

Mr Sachibu stressed the need for participants at the forum to campaign on the NHIL and urged education-oriented organizations including the NCCE, NFED and the media to carry the information to the rural communities.