South Africa mulls tax hike to fund Covid-19 vaccination drive
South Africa’s National Treasury is considering raising taxes as one of several possible mechanisms to fund the vaccination drive against Covid-19.
At this point South Africa is due to get 9 million doses from Johnson & Johnson, 1.5 million shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine, 12 million through Covax, and 12.25 million from the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, according to a report by South Africa’s daily newspaper.
The government viewed the vaccines as a public good and was committed to financing their rollout, with or without support from the private sector and medical schemes, the Johannesburg-based newspaper reported, citing Treasury Director-General Dondo Mogajane.
Other options the Treasury is exploring include widening the budget deficit and re-prioritizing government spending. The pandemic was a good case for emergency funding.
The department of health has estimated a maximum cost of 20 billion rand ($1.3 billion) to vaccinate the entire country, while more recent internal estimates done by the Treasury are far lower than this.