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Opinions of Thursday, 3 August 2017

Columnist: Dzifa Gunu

National tow levy; another reason why I support it

In 2005 when the NHIS was established by the erstwhile President Kuffour administration, it was hailed by all as one of the biggest social intervention programmes by any government under the 4th republic, and it remains a major intervention in Ghana’s health delivery system.

Soon after the NHIS was implemented, a research was conducted on its long term sustainability beyond its first five years of operation and it was recommended that government devises alternative means of funding the scheme since the SSNIT contributions and subscribers’ payment were woefully inadequate to support the scheme in the long run.

Sometime under the leadership of President Mahama, a committee was commissioned to look into other areas of funding for the NHIS, after an exhaustive consultation, the committee presented its report and amongst other recommendations suggested to the then government that a percentage of the oil revenue be channelled into the funding of the NHIS, government accepted the report and both the NDC and the NPP during their campaign amongst other promises stated that they were going to use a portion of the oil revenue to support the scheme.

Now touching on the challenges or sustainability of funding the scheme with the oil revenue, it is common knowledge globally that oil prices have slumped persistently for almost 2 years and making projections using oil revenue was becoming increasingly unreliable.

Haven't tackled the challenges of the scheme was going to face as a result of the global fall in oil prices, government was now faced with yet another means of funding for the NHIS scheme.

In recent weeks gone by the nation's attention have been on the National Tow Levy, a levy that is to be jointly managed by the DVLA on behalf of Government of Ghana and the Road Safety Management Services Limited who is to provide towing trucks and other ancillary services in road safety management.

The tow levy law stipulates that 10% of the accrued levy is set aside to support the NHIS and for me, this is one of the most pragmatic and reliable source of funding for the NHIS scheme going forward.

The move to support the scheme with a whopping 10% must be lauded by every progressive Ghanaian because this will be arguably one of the biggest sources of funding for the NHIS scheme since its inception and the policy initiators must be lauded for making this policy.

In conclusion, the whole tow levy should be supported by all to enable us all reduce the carnage on our roads that put a drain our merger national coffers.

God bless our homeland Ghana