NAC hails AIDS levy collections

National AIDS Council Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr Tapuwa Magure said as the Zimbabwean economy improves, AIDS levy Collection also increases.

Magure said of  the $ 85, 2 million collected from income tax, individuals and corporate,  $82, 1 million was used and a balance of $2, 4 million was put in investments while the remaining $0, 6 million was held in bank accounts.

‘’ As the organization will be completing procurement procedures, funds are marked for products and services to be procured are put in short term investments waiting completion of the procurement circle.

“A sum of $13, 8 million was put in investments during the 2009- 2012”, Magure explained.

The AIDS levy is charged on individuals, companies and trusts at a rate of 3% of the amount of income tax assessed through Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) which is responsible for the collection.

Dr Magure added the levy is collected at the end of each month and remitted to the Council within two weeks of the month after following the disbursement to implementers is done on a quarterly basis in line with treasury plan of the Council.

He said since dollarization in 2009 NAC has been giving grants to the National Blood Services Zimbabwe (NBSZ) towards ensuring that the country has safe blood.

“AIDS levy collections in 2014 amounted to $ 38.65 million, and the Council continued to support the ART programme through procurement of medicines and equipment, funding, outreach programme and decentralization of service thereby enabling more clients who are in need of ART to access treatment.

“The funds were channeled towards the procurement of CD4 Count machines, HIV test kits, Multi Drug Resistant TB drugs, Breast cancer Screening Mammography package and ARVs Medicines for public and private partnership”, Magure added.

The Chief Executive Officer highlighted that, NAC so far invested $ 88 494.23 to Chingwizi Transit camp clinic, the project which  will provide money for a standard rural health centre to complement other players in the camp.

He said the Council handed over a donation of $1 million to the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) and the donation was made possible through the National AIDS Trust Fund and will support 15 295 children with school fees.

He added NAC has made annual disbursements to BEAM and these contributions have been incremental over the years, starting with $270 000 in 2011, $ 656 000 in 2012, $ 800 000 in 2013, 1 000 000 in 2014 and $1, 2 million in2015.

The establishment of the BEAM was to ensure that orphaned and vulnerable children have access to education as a means to empower them and break the cycle of poverty and exposure to HIV.

‘’ Our organization also ran a National High Schools Quiz Competitions and the aim is to raise awareness on HIV and AIDS,  High schools are targeted because some of the pupils are now sexually active and NAC’s priority is to promote abstinence as young students are too young to engage in sexual activities.

“The Quiz competitions also educate them on how to prevent the transmission of STIs, HIV and AIDS.

‘’Once these children are equipped with some education, their exposure to HIV will be reduced in a way.

“In terms of mitigation coordination programmes a total of $ 6; 11 million was in invested which include monitoring and evaluation, planning and coordination and capacity building”, Magure said.

He said challenges in AIDS levy collections and administration, the informal sector which employs 75% of the productive population in the country   is no yet contributing to the fund and the fund is not adequate to finance the whole HIV and AIDS national response.

The AIDS Levy collections for the period 2000- 2008 cannot be meaningfully expressed as they were distorted by 2007 and 2008 super hyper inflation environment. In 2009 – 2012 the Council collected $85, 2 million from income tax from individuals and corporate.

Dr Tapuwa MagureNational Aids Coucil