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What Prince Dubeko Sibanda said about the proposed sin tax in full

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: If we consider the $30 or so million from the health levy, the budget does not go beyond 6.2%, that is what the Hon. Minister has allocated. This is actually a reduction from what the Ministry of Health and Child Care was allocated in the previous year. So, we recommend that at least 15% threshold should be achieved.

Hon. Speaker, in a scenario where the Minister says he does not have fiscal space to reach the 15% threshold, we recommend that in order for us to maintain our health delivery services at the level that they were last year – because the current budget of $408 million that has been allocated is actually reducing the level of health care that we were giving last year to below what we were giving last year, which means that we want health care to deteriorate beyond the levels that it was last year.

For us to maintain at the level that it was last year, your Committee recommends that Treasury should release an extra $345 million towards the Ministry of Health and Child Care, then the gap that will be funded by development partners will assist us to at least leave the health care at the same level that it was last year.

Our third recommendation is that last year or last year but one where….

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order, I have an announcement to make. Vehicle AD 18920 Ford Ranger is closing the entrance. Can you please go and remove your car.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Madam Speaker. We proposed a Health Levy Fund in this House, I think it is last year or last year but one of 10% that is deducted from airtime. Unfortunately Hon. Speaker, from that 10% health fund is only receiving 5% and the other 5% is going somewhere else. It is my belief that when that levy fund was proposed at 10%, the intent was to ensure that we fund our health. So, as a result, there is no need for Treasury to retain the other 5%. Hon. Speaker, we recommend that the whole of the 10% that is being deducted from airtime should all go towards the funding of our health sector.

The other recommendation is that National Pharmaceutical Company (NatPharm) should be recapitalised to enable it to purchase drugs in bulk. Bulk buying of drugs will help to ensure a stable supply of drugs to public hospitals. Pharmacies also stand to benefit through buying drugs from NatPharm at lower prices. We are aware Hon. Speaker that sometime in October, 2017, the cost of buying drugs had gone up by almost 70%, such that cost of drugs was no longer reachable to an ordinary person. As a result, we recommend the capacitation of NatPharm so that it can be able to supply drugs at a lower cost to public hospitals.

Also to boost the supply of drugs, another recommendation that we are making is that Government should consider giving incentives to drug producing companies. We believe that, that way we might be able to save a lot of foreign currency if drugs are actually produced from within the country. For us to be able to do that, I believe that some kind of a package should be developed in order to capacitate our local drug manufacturing companies so that it becomes easy for us to buy drugs from within the country rather than importing them from outside the country which is something that is actually taking a lot of foreign currency from the market.

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