Federal government has come up with a new tax on phone calls to actualise the provision of healthcare to vulnerable Nigerians who cannot afford the cost of medical care.
According to President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Health Insurance Authority Bill 2022 will ensure coverage of 83 million poor Nigerians who cannot afford to pay premiums.
A survey by NOI showed that about eight out of 10 Nigerians do not have health insurance cover, Polls, and most Nigerians pay cash when they have to visit a hospital for treatment.
The new law creates a vulnerable group fund that will be financed through a new telecommunications tax charged on phone calls at not less than one kobo per second of GSM calls.
It will also be funded through a basic health care provision fund, health insurance levy, special intervention fund, as well as any investment proceeds, donations and gifts to the authority.
With an average call rate of 11 Kobo per second, the new law implies at least nine per cent charge on every second of phone calls in the country.
The vulnerable group comprises children under five, pregnant women, aged, physically and mentally challenged persons, and indigent people as may be defined from time to time.