Informal sector to contribute to Aids levy


THE NATIONAL Aids Council (NAC) is still struggling to come up with an acceptable workplan of collecting Aids Levy from the informal sector, a senior official has said.

Nqobile Bhebhe, Chief Reporter

Presently, the informal sector, which employs an estimated 80% of the country’s workforce, does not contribute to the fund, although its members benefit from free HIV and Aids drugs acquired under the programme.

Responding to questions from journalists in Masvingo, NAC information and communications manager Madeline Dube on Wednesday said plans are still being worked out on how to levy the informal sector.

“It is an issue of great concern,” she said. “The (informal) sector is doing better than the formal one, but how they should be levied is still a problem.

“Modalities are still being worked out.

“An idea of collecting the levy through extracting the money through value-added tax (VAT) was once proposed but policy makers rejected it.”

She said for this to happen, several laws had to be amended.

“The Finance Act, we are told, has to be amended to specific how Aids levy from VAT would be collected and remitted to NAC,” she said.

“But we hope that workable ideas will soon come through.”

The country introduced a compulsory 3% Aids levy to all employees with taxable incomes and their employers in 1999 to fund Aids mitigation programmes.

Funds from the levy finance the co-ordination, monitoring and evaluation of programmes, such as distribution of condoms, prevention of mother-to- child transmission and nutritional support to infected individuals.