NHIA: No telecoms tax in new health insurance Act

Buhari

President Buhari

By Franca Ofili

The management of National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) said there is no provision for a telecom tax as a source of funding in the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) Act recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, contrary to reports in the media.

Some reports had idicated that the new law contains provision for a telecom tax of a minimum of one kobo per second for phone calls to boost the funds required to finance free healthcare for the vulnerable group in Nigeria in the Act

But NHIS Deputy General Manager, Mr. Emmanuel Ononokpono, dismissed the speculations in a statement in Abuja while expressing appreciation to the President for signing the Bill into law.

He said that sections 25 and 26 of the Act established the Vulnerable Group Fund (VGF), indicating the various sources from which funding would be drawn.

He said that the legislation Buhari assented to did not make provision for a telecoms tax as a source of funding, contrary to reports in some national media.

Ononokpono urged stakeholders and industry players, including the media to wait for a formal unveiling of the document.

Ononokpono said that the legislation strengthened the NHIA to discharge a wide range of regulatory and promotion functions, to ultimately ensure that every Nigerian received access to quality and affordable health care.

“For over two decades, industry professionals had sustained the call for amendment to the health insurance law, being a major impediment to the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC),’’ Ononokpono said.

By this development, efforts to tackle high incidence of poverty caused by out-of-pocket expenses for health care, through health insurance for all categories of Nigerians by 2030, is now more realisable than ever before,’’ he said.

Ononokpono said that the management was also grateful to the Senate and the House of Representatives for their invaluable roles in the lead up to the enactment of the law.

He acknowledged the roles played by different stakeholders in the course of the legislative work on the law.

According to him, the Act establishes and empowers the NHIA to ensure provision of health insurance for all Nigerians through a mandatory mechanism, in collaboration with state health insurance agencies.

(NAN)

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