Members of Parliament (MPs) have voted in favour of tax waiver amounting to GH¢288,644,003.34 on personal emoluments of health workers across the country for a three-month period commencing April 2020.
The waiver is also on additional allowances to be paid to frontline health personnel for the months of March, April, May and June 2020, and it covers health workers in government health facilities, quasi-government health facilities and private health facilities.
The request for waiver of income tax was laid in the House on Thursday, April 30, 2020 by the Minister for Planning, Professor George Gyan-Baffour on behalf of the Minister of Finance.
In pursuant to Order 169 of the Standing Orders of Parliament, the Speaker, Prof. Mike Oquaye referred the request to the Finance Committee for consideration and report.
The Akufo-Addo’s government, as part of measures to support frontline workers involved in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, decided to take off income tax from the emoluments of health workers for the months of April, May and June 2020.
All frontline health workers will also receive an additional allowance of 50 percent of their basic salary per month tax-free for the period between March and June, 2020.
A total of GH¢237,579,041.25 out of the GH¢288,644,003.34 taxes is on personal emoluments, while the remaining GH¢51,064,962.09 is for the additional allowances.
The Finance Committee observed that the risk of COVID-19 infection to doctors, nurses and others on the front lines had become very evident across the globe: Italy, the UK, Spain, and USA.
Chairman of the Committee, Dr. Mark Assibey-Yeboah reported that these country and several others have all seen scores of health workers become infected with the coronavirus with many reported dead.
Presenting the report of the committee, the New Juaben South MP said health workers also face considerable mental stress, adding: “It is often forgotten that as humans, they feel the sorrow of loss when their patients succumb to the virus.”