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02.08.2004 Health

Prices relatively stable, but health levy welcomed with mixed feelings

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Accra, Aug. 2, GNA - Prices were relatively stable on Monday, the first working day since the National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) went into effect on Sunday, as members of the public welcomed the levy with mixed feelings. While some people consider the levy as the best way to secure funding to augment health care financing in the abolition of the current "cash and carry system", others hold the view that it would overburden the taxpayer.

The Ghana News Agency (GNA) found during interviews on Monday with shoppers and managers of shops at parts of Osu and Accra Central that education on the scheme was generally very low. Most of the shoppers GNA interviewed did not know if prices of certain items they had purchased had suddenly shot up. At Koala Shopping Centre at Osu RE, Mr Isaac Ofori Asiamah, Accountant, said the centre had not received any complaints since it opened on Monday morning.

Mr Asiamah said the levy would help alleviate some of the problems of the health sector and encourage medical personnel to stay behind after training. He stated that there was the need for those in active service to sacrifice a bit to support the older and the unfortunate in society, who could not afford medical treatment. Mr Asiamah appealed to the public to accept the tax in good faith and support it. He, however, called for intensive education on both the National Health Insurance Scheme and the levy to ensure their success. Kwatsons Electricals said it had also not received any complaints.

The story was not different at Accra Central. While most of the people welcomed the levy as a means to saving the health sector and providing free and quality health care for all, others did not know anything about the levy. At Melcom Stores Mr Devessy George, Marketing Manager, said they were yet to change the prices at the shop. Some dealers in electronic gadgets at opera Square said the levy had affected prices but the increase was minimal, others said they were yet to receive the receipt books for the new levy.

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