By Robert Egbe
AFRICA’S richest man, Aliko Dangote, has proposed a plan that will see private sector players commit one per cent of all their profits to bridge gaping funding gaps in Nigeria’s beleaguered healthcare sector.
The new tax, with national assembly approval, would be separate from the corporate tax already being paid to the government and would strengthen the ailing health sector, as the country continues to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This, according to him, would help ensure that the vaccine for treating the pandemic gets to the end-users in the country and across Africa, through viable partnership and collaborations.
Dangote spoke during the virtual Bloomberg New Economic Forum (NEF), at a session hosted by the Dangote Group, titled, “Cross-Sector Mobilisation in Times of Crisis: Public Health Perspective.”
Other speakers at the event included, Chief Executive of Flagship Pioneering and Co-founder and Chairman of Moderna, Dr. Noubar Afeyan, and Co-founder and Chief Strategist at Partners in Health Care, Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, USA, Dr. Paul Farmer.
Responding to a question on if funding was one of the barriers to dealing with health crisis effectively, Dangote replied: “Yes, I agree with you. It is more to do with funding. Like what we are doing in Nigeria as a foundation (Aliko Dangote Foundation), we are trying to sponsor a bill to our Congress where we want them to impose a tax. This is a separate tax, not a corporate tax, of maybe about one per cent of all our profits, in the private sector, so that they will fund health.
“And I think it is the only way; we cannot just leave government alone. Government alone cannot fund health. So we the foundations, the private sector and then the government, we have to actually work together to make sure that we fund health.”