THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has vowed to resist any new compulsory levies on employees to finance the proposed National Health Insurance Scheme until issues to do with who will run and administer the fund are thoroughly debated and agreed on by workers.
ZCTU secretary-general Japhet Moyo said the union was against the introduction of another compulsory government-administered levy, following the chaos associated with people’s pensions being administered by the National Social Security Authority (Nssa).
“It’s something we rejected a long time ago and we will reject it again,” Moyo said. “Under Nssa, workers’ money has been abused with some now being locked up in non-performing banks. Workers are now sceptical of paying to government-administered schemes.”
Deputy Health minister Paul Chimedza last week said government was holding discussions to introduce a new compulsory fund to finance health care in a holistic manner.
Chimedza told parliament: “The two ministries (health and labour), at some point, had proposed that there be a National Health Insurance Fund and that this fund comes as a levy, not just focusing on cancer, but focusing on the whole health care sector and for anyone who gets sick, whether in the rural areas or towns, he/she just needs to walk to the hospital and get service, but that service will be paid for from that fund and then that health institution will be able to pay its workers — the nurses and doctors.”
Moyo said health is an important sector that should be funded, but insists that unions should be consulted on the fund’s administration.
“If we are to have schemes we have to agree on who runs and administers them, otherwise we will say no; we don’t want with our money,” Moyo added.
Zimbabwean workers are among the highest taxed employees in the world with a plethora of direct and indirect taxes in a shrinking economy where a small minority employed in the formal sector has to help finance government operations.
Zimbabwe’s unemployment level currently stands at over 80%.