Felex Share Senior Reporter
Workers will not pay extra towards the National Health Insurance Scheme and the National Social Security Authority is devising strategies to ensure that the scheme becomes successful through existing deductions, it has emerged. Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira told The Herald last week that Government wanted the majority of Zimbabweans to access universal healthcare without being heavily taxed.
“We cannot say there is no salary increase in the past years then we ask workers to pay more, it does not make sense,” she said.
“Cabinet has approved establishment of this scheme and now the aim is to see it coming to fruition. Contrary to popular views or opinions by stakeholders mainly business and labour, the scheme will not burden the employees whose income is already heavily taxed. NSSA is on the ground engaging actuaries to ascertain the success of this scheme through existing deductions. This entails health insurance at no additional cost to beneficiaries.”
The move to establish such a scheme came after the realisation that only 10 percent of Zimbabweans were covered by medical aid societies.
The scheme was initially mooted in 2007 but was shot down by workers and Parliament.
They argued it would further strain overtaxed workers since the initial proposal was to tax workers five percent.
Minister Mupfumira said misinformed civil servants leaders were rejecting the scheme without understanding what it entailed.
“Government would like to encourage civil servants to wake up and understand the employer’s good and not evil intentions,” she said.
“This misinformation is unfortunate but employees must wake up because the future of their families belongs to them not unions with political interests. We believe current insurances are not serving people effectively hence the idea to have a national scheme. Many countries like Kenya and in Sadc region have adopted such schemes which even include those not working. For now, we are beginning with those contributing.”
NSSA, Minister Mupfumira said, should harness all its investments to drive the scheme.
“NSSA has had investments over the years and money was lost through investments that were never monitored,” she said.
“Now we are saying the authority should make good investments and make follow ups on them including old ones. This will enable them to get their due dividends. We are directing them to put their house in order and come up with a feasible scheme to help the workers.”
She went on: “NSSA should add value to what it is being given and it is for that reason why we are saying the monthly allowances for pensioners should be gradually increased beginning with $100. Contributors should also get decent burials over and above the $300 they are given for funeral. This should be successful without any cost to the worker.”
Government is in the process of drafting the HINS Bill after the approval of principles presented to Cabinet by Minister Mupfumira.
The principles were also supported by Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa.