Tax increases to pay for Covid-19 vaccine under consideration — report

As the government’s efforts to secure supplies of Covid-19 vaccines find growing success, the Treasury is considering raising taxes as one of several possible mechanisms to fund the biggest vaccination drive in SA’s history.

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Treasury director-general Dondo Mogajane said the government viewed Covid-19 vaccines as a public good and was committed to financing their rollout, with or without support from the private sector and medical schemes.

“SA will not take us seriously if I can find money for SAA but not for vaccines,” he said in an interview with Business Day on Sunday.

The health department has estimated a maximum cost of R20bn to vaccinate the entire country, while more recent internal estimates done by Treasury are far lower than this, the newspaper reported.

The government also has scope to use provisions in section 16 of the Public Finance Management Act, which allows it to make appropriate funds available through parliament in an emergency, outside the budget process.

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