By Michael Gwarisa
THE National Aids Council (NAC) is engaging government and policy makers to consider taxing the informal sector in a bid to beef up the Aids Levy coffers which are reportedly dwindling.
Briefing Journalists during a Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) media engagement meeting in the capital, NAC’s National Advocacy Coordinator Trust Govera said AIDS levy collections fell in 2016 and measures were currently underway to increase domestic financing for HIV related programs and taxing the informal sector was one of them.
“Government is in the process of regularizing the informal sector, so we will be taken on board when the infomal sector is being regularised. We can not go alone as NAC to tax them alone but once the informal sector but we are still pushing in trying to ensure we achieve that.
“As your are aware, the mining sector at some point was not contributing towards the AIDS levy but through various engagements, they are now contributing. We intend to increase domestic financing of HIV/AIDS to 30 percent by 2018, Zimbabwe yes it has its own domestic funding which is the AIDS levy which is a good practice which other countries are seeing to adopt but we still have external funding from Global Fund and other partners.
Govera added that they intend to fund at least 30 percent of all HIV interventions in Zimbabwe be it ART or prevention by 2030.
“We should be able to fund 30 percent of all interventions by 2030 that we will not face a threat when donors want to exit or withdraw their funding. Right now, the AIDS levy is funding approximately 24 percent of the ARVs which we have in Zimbabwe, the other part is taken care of by Global fund and other partners which is not a healthy situation.
“So now and then we engage policy makers so that they increase funding, we have other strategies that we have, i know it will be difficult for policy makers to say we want to increase the percentage of the tax, it wont sail easily.”
According to NAC, in 2009, 5 percent was collected towards the AIDS levy, in 2010 20.5 percent, 2011 it was 26,5 percent, in 2012, it was 32,5 percent, in 2016 it was 30 percent.