Zimbabwe’s Parliamentarians begin debating the 2021 National Budget this afternoon. The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care intends to push for funds generated from the taxation of the informal sector to be channeled towards revitalizing National Aids Council coffers.
Businesses in the informal sector will now be required to pay US$30 tax per month or the equivalent in Zimbabwe dollars. Chairperson of the health committee, Dr Ruth Labode says donor funds are decreasing annually.
“The Finance Minister has introduced a tax of US$30 for the informal sector. So we want to lobby that at least a dollar from these funds must be given to the National Aids Council. If that happens, trust me National Aids Council coffers will be revitalized,” she said.
Meanwhile, National Aids Council chief executive, Dr Bernard Madzima said the idea proposed by the legislators is noble. He added that this will further capacitate the council as it has struggled to import antiretroviral drugs for the past two years due to lack of funding.
“The fact that we do not have many people formerly employed means the tax base has shrunk. Also, the fact that the currency itself is not stable and yet we are supposed to buy drugs using foreign currency makes it difficult for us to function. This made us fail to buy antiretroviral drugs for the past two years. We only resumed buying them when the forex auction system was recently introduced. So this lobbying by Parliament will definitely assist us,” he said.