South Africa Treasury Considers Tax Hike to Fund Vaccines: Business Day

South Africa’s National Treasury is considering raising taxes as one of several possible mechanisms to fund the vaccination drive against Covid-19, Business Day reported.

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 the daily newspaper.

The government viewed the vaccines as a public good and was committed to financing their roll out, 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, Business Day cited Mogajane as saying.

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, the newspaper said.

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