By Michael Gwarisa
HIGH informalisation of the economy and massive company closures alongside job cuts have had an adverse impact on Aids Levy collections, a National Aids Council (NAC) official has said.
According to NAC’s Accounting officer Godfrey Mzari, collections to the AIDS Levy have been on a downward trend since the year 2014 and 2017 is likely to be even worse.
“Currently, the AIDS levy is being collected from the formal sector, by formal sector we mean registered employees. Its collected by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) and disbursed directly to us on a monthly basis.
“The Aids levy trend from 2009 up to 2016 is as follows, since dollarization, in 2009 we collected $25.7 million, and it increased up to the year 2014 where we collected about $38.6 million, then in 2016, we collected we collected $33 million. We are not so sure about 2017, maybe we will collect $29 or 25 million, so on our side, the AIDS levy is shrinking,” said Mzari.
He added that treatment and care consume about 50 percent of the AIDS Levy that is procurement of ARVs and related medicines while prevention takes up to 21 percent which includes activities like youths in school, youths out of school, advocacy 3 percent, M and E 5 percent as well as administration takes 21 percent.
NAC is currently working on other measures to ensure the levy gets financing from other national projects like the Masvingo dualisation project, taxing the informal sector among others so as to beef up the coffers.
“We are thinking that if we can, we can collect the Aids levy from the informal sector but it might be difficult for us to do so considering that the measures of taxing such a constituency might be very expensive.
“We are also proposing that we could get at least 1 percent from diaspora remittances that could go a long way in supporting the Aids levy. We are also proposing the Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) where we would partner with drug manufacturers, it could reduce the cost ARVs because right now we are importing ARVs from India and it is very expensive.”
On tapping into the Masvingo dualisation project, Mzari said a certain percentage of contract money from major projects could be allocated to the Aids levy. He said 1 percent of the Masvingo contract could be directed to the Aids levy.