JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s embattled consumers are set to see a rise in taxes as the government scrambles to implement the much-touted National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme.
The NHI Bill, which was tabled in Parliament last week, has drawn both praise and scorn.
The National Treasury had estimated that NHI will cost R256 billion, but has said that the department plans to release a revised paper with a revised costing.
Raymond Parsons, an economist at the North-West University Business School, said factors such as declining tax revenues, escalating debt ratios, an excessive public sector wage bill and extensive financial assistance to state-owned enterprises like Eskom leave little room at this stage for large-scale projects such as NHI.
“South Africa needs to know the financial implications of this massive health scheme before irrevocable decisions are taken, which could be economically damaging. There are no soft options available, especially for as long as the economy remains in a ‘low-growth trap’,” Parsons said.