Government urged to earmark some percentage of excise taxes for healthcare

By Albert Allotey

Accra, Nov. 10, GNA – Mr Labram Musah, the Executive Director of the Vision for Alternative Development – Ghana (VALD Ghana), has called on the government to earmark some percentage of the excise taxes on health harming products to support healthcare.

He said, “We have over the years call on the Ministry of Finance and Parliament to legislate so we earmark some percentage of the excise taxes to support healthcare. The out-of-pocket payment is just unbearable for many Ghanaians, especially the poor.”

Mr Musah made the call when he launched a report on a rapid study on tobacco industry interference during the process to the passage of the Excise Duty Amendment Act (Act 1093) on March 31, this year.

The report was aimed at exposing the tactics used by the tobacco industry to undermine the passage of the excise taxes.

Mr Musah said most countries had earmarked excise taxes to support health promotion or health-related challenges, adding that “We are aware key among the issues that led to the closure of the renal centre is finance.

“We are told by the Ghana Revenue Authority that the excise tax is progressively increasing government revenue so some percentage of it should be earmarked to take care of the health of the poor and the vulnerable citizens,” he said.

The excise taxes are levied on health harming products such as tobacco, alcohol, sugar sweetened beverages, trans-fat products, among others, which are referred to as corrective taxes or health taxes or health promotional taxes, and in effect are important for public health.