Parliament approves GH₵288m tax waiver for health workers

Parliament yesterday by consensus granted a request for waiver on income tax amounting to GH₵288,644,003 on personal emoluments of health workers for the months of April, May and June 2020. 

The package also include waiver on additional allowances paid to frontline health workers in the fight against Coronavirus for the months of March, April, May and June 2020. 

The approval was in response to a decision by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to, subject to parliamentary endorsement; waive the taxes as a mean to motivate health workers and those on the frontline in the battle against the respiratory disease code-named Covid-19. 

As part of the incentive, frontline workers are expected to enjoy additional 50 per cent of their basic salary for the three months. 

While waiver on personal emoluments amounts to GH₵237, 579,041, the 50 per cent basic salary increase for frontline health workers amount to GH₵51, 064,962. 

Justifying the decision to approve the waivers as requested by the government, Parliament noted that health workers were at risk and needed to be motivated. 

“The risk of Covid-19 infection to doctors, nurses and other health workers on the frontline has become very evident across the globe. Health workers also face considerable mental stress. 

“It is often forgotten that as humans, they feel the sorrow of loss when their patients succumb to the virus. They too have families, and will naturally be fearful that the virus might reach those that they live most. 

“The above factors, together with added pressure of work places a lot of strain on health workers who overcome their own fears to put themselves on the line daily to treat the sick and to combat the pandemic,” the finance committees report on the request said. 

According to the report, signed by Committee Chairman, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, the coverage of the waiver currently applied to health practitioners in the public sector. 

This notwithstanding, the report said the Ministry of Health has received the list of private sector health workers across the country for vetting and inclusion in the waiver scheme. 

“For the avoidance of doubt, the instant tax waiver request covers health workers in government health facilities, quasi-government health facilities and private health facilities,” the report emphasised. 

The House meanwhile, also approved request for waiver of Value Added Tax (VAT), Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) Levy and National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) amounting to the Ghana cedi equivalent of 12.5 per cent of VAT, 2.5 per cent of NHIL and 2.5 of GETFund of the cost of donations of stock of equipment and goods relief supplies for the fight against Covid-19. 

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI 

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