Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunninbe Mamora
Minister Wants Tax On Alcohol, Cigarettes, Others
The Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora has advocated increased funding for the health sector to tackle some challenges hampering affordable and quality healthcare delivery in Nigeria.
He also demanded special tax for alcohol, cigarettes and other commodities that cause damage to the human body. Speaking at the meeting of Health Commissioners Forum, which ended, yesterday, in Abuja, Mamora observed that money generated from taxing the commodities could be deployed to fund the health sector in addition to the existing funding structures.
He said: “When you look at the issues and challenges in the health sector, the basic underlying factor is funding. Whether you are talking of health infrastructure, equipment in the hospitals and human resource for health, the underlying factor is funding. Even if you have enough human resources, you need to take care of emoluments and incentives. Therefore, you need a funding period. That is why we need to find ways to increase funding for the health sector.”
He said it is the reason to begin to tax such commodities as alcohol and cigarettes, which cause damages to the human body, because the health sector bears the brunt.
He also urged the commissioners to continue to seek partnership and do everything possible to improve health in their states, adding that attention should not be only focused on treatment, but on prevention, caring for the vulnerable and health access.
The Commissioner for Health, Cross River State, Dr. Betha Edu, who spoke on behalf of the commissioners, noted that building a stronger health sector through collaboration and strategic partnership, which was the theme of the meeting, could be achieved by strengthening primary healthcare system.
The Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Mohammed Sambo, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to accelerate the process of assenting the bill passed by National Assembly, which he said would help to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC).