Parliament has approved a tax waiver of GH¢288.64 million for healthcare workers to encourage them to put their best in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The tax waiver is on the personal emoluments of all healthcare workers for the months of April, May and June this year and on additional allowances for frontline health personnel covering March, April, May and June 2020.
The breakdown of the tax comprise GH¢237.6 million in personal emoluments and GH¢51.06 million in additional allowances.
Parliament’s approval of the waiver gives backing to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s public announcement on April 5, that all frontline workers would enjoy a three-month tax holiday in addition to receiving an allowance of 50 per cent of their basic salary per month for March, April, May and June.
The Legislature has furthermore approved a tax waiver of 17.5 per cent on the cost of equipment and goods as donations and relief supplies for the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The incentive will cover frontline health workers in government health facilities, quasi-government health facilities, private health facilities, as well as casuals and workers of government hospitals paid with internally generated funds.
The request for waiver of income tax as well as on additional allowances to be paid to frontline health personnel was laid in the House on April 30 by the Minister of Planning, Professor George Gyan-Baffour, on behalf of the Minister of Finance.
Pursuant to Order 169 of the Standing Orders of the House, the request was referred to the Finance Committee for consideration and report.
The Chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, submitted the committee’s report and prayed the House to adopt and approve the report.
He said it was expected that the waiver would encourage health workers and other frontline personnel to continue to make sacrifices in caring for those infected with the virus.
Coverage of waiver
Dr Assibey-Yeboah told Parliament that the Chief Director at the Ministry of Health had informed the Finance Committee that the tax incentive would cover health workers in private hospitals also.
The Chief Director explained that the Ministry of Health had received the list of private health workers across the country for vetting and inclusion in the tax waiver scheme.
“Notwithstanding the list aforesaid, the committee was informed that private health workers who inadvertently may not have been captured may still submit applications to the Ministry of Health for consideration.
He added that: “For the avoidance of doubt, the instant tax waiver request covers health workers in government health facilities, quasi-government health facilities and private health facilities.”
Donation of relief supplies
The tax waiver on the relief supplies towards interventions on COVID-19 means such donations will not attract 12.5 per value added tax (VAT), 2.5 per cent National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) and 2.5 per cent GETFund levy.
The approval, which will last from March 1 to December 31, 2020, is aimed at promoting or encouraging well-meaning individuals and institutions to generously donate equipment and goods to augment the government’s efforts at combating COVID-19.