Gov’t considers health support fund for workers

Government is considering introducing a health support fund targeted at workers in both the formal and informal sectors.

The fund is envisaged to pool about GH¢23 million within a year if workers commit about GH¢3 of their monthly contributions to it.

This was announced by Minister of Employment and Labour Relations Alhaji Haruna Iddrisu on Tuesday, March 10 during the founding conference of the Union of Informal Workers Associations (UNIWA). The conference taking place at the Institute of Local Government Studies is scheduled to end on Thursday.

It is themed: “Building informal workers’ power”.

Alhaji Iddrisu hinted that the health fund under consideration will rope in at least 64,000 workers.

“Sooner than later we should begin to work towards the establishment of a health support fund for workers,” the Employment Minister hinted.

“We can target workers in both the formal and informal sector.”

It is unclear how different this fund will be from the National Health Insurance Scheme but clearly government is not happy with a section of the legislation that set up the Scheme.

“I have myself examined the exemption clause under the NHIS which says 70 years yet the constitution and the public service legal requirement is that [workers] retire at 60 years.

“It means that you are asking the poor retiree to wait for an additional 10 years to be able to access healthcare under the exemption. That is not an acceptable social practice.”

The Employment Minister indicated that workers will be put in charge of the new fund.

“This health support fund must be owned by the leadership of the public sector workers’ union.”

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