CSOs ask FG to tax phone calls for health coverage funding

CSOs ask FG to tax phone calls for health coverage funding
The Coalition of Civil Society Organisations and other professional associations in the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health at Scale (PACFaH@Scale) says the federal government should fund health coverage by taxing outgoing telephone calls.
The coalition said each phone call made should be taxed one kobo.
Speaking on behalf of the coalition on Monday, Ayo Adebusoye said despite efforts by the three tiers of government to invest in the health sector, a lot still needs to be done.
Adebusoye noted that the “meagre” investment in the sector is “further compounded by delay or non-release of funds appropriated”.
“All the tiers of government in Nigeria should fund, implement and ensure accountability of the second National Strategic Health Development Plan to achieve universal health coverage (UHC),” he said.
“The federal government should release the Basic Health Care Provision Fund in the 2018 health budget without further delay. The government should also explore innovative ways of funding the health system in order to achieve UHC.
“An example of such innovation would be the introduction of mobile phone tax that will involve charging one kobo per second on every outgoing phone call in Nigeria.
“According to Nigeria’s National Health Account of 2014, for every N1,000 spent on health, about N700 is out-of-pocket expenditure, a situation that is driving millions into poverty and denying them basic healthcare.”
Adebusoye said the objectives of the health coverage would be achieved in Nigeria if all tiers of government have the political will to implement recommendations proposed by the coalition.