Nigeria: New Health Insurance Act Doesn’t Impose Telecoms Tax, Says NHIA

The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has said the new National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) Act recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari does not make provision for a telecoms tax as a source of funding in the law.

In a statement signed by the Public Affairs Manager of the NHIA, Emmanuel Ononokpono, it said the Act establishes and empowers the NHIA to ensure the provision of health insurance for all Nigerians through a mandatory mechanism, in collaboration with state health insurance agencies.

While clarifying the provisions of the new legislation, the agency said: “In relation to the Act, the NHIA wishes to state clearly that the legislation that Mr. President assented to does not make provision for a telecoms tax as a source of funding in the law contrary to hasty reports in some exuberant national media.”

The NHIA said with the coming into effect of the new Health Insurance Act, the objective of addressing high incidence of out-of-pocket expenses for health care, through health insurance for all categories of Nigerians by 2030, would now be more realisable than ever before.

The statement added: “It worthy to note that the Act establishes and empowers the NHIA to ensure provision of health insurance for all Nigerians through a mandatory mechanism, in collaboration with state health insurance agencies.

“Specifically, Sections 25 and 26 of the Act establish the Vulnerable Group Fund (VGF), indicating the various sources from which funding would be drawn.

“Furthermore, the legislation strengthens the NHIA to discharge a wide range of regulatory and promotion functions to ultimately ensure that every Nigerian receives access to quality and affordable health care.

“While the NHIA understands the excitement around the new law, it craves the patience of stakeholders and industry watchers including the media to wait for a formal unveiling of the document in days ahead.”

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