Thu | Dec 13, 2018

Letter of the day: Channel some NHT funds to health sector

Published:Tuesday | May 5, 2015 | 12:00 AM


As I read 'Medical madness!' (Sunday Observer, May 3, 2015), which painted a picture of a health sector in crisis, and another, 'NHT bailout for PNP MP?' (Sunday Gleaner, May 3, 2015), I would like to recommend to the administration of the day and for the wider consideration of the Jamaican taxpayers, a reduction in the amount of statutory deduction which goes towards the National Housing Trust (NHT).

The redirecting of this reduction of one to two per cent (1.5 per cent of that which comes from the employer and 0.5 per cent from employees' contributions) to a special fund aimed at supporting the upkeep of the health sector, separate and apart from central government funding.

It is becoming quite apparent that the cash-rich status of the NHT is the subject of frequent encashments, with the funds being used for exploits outside of its core mandate or otherwise increasing its land bank with lands said to be useless for housing development.

While not privy to the financial statements of the trust, I am somewhat confident that the proposed reduction and reallocation, as referenced above, should not impair its ability to continue to fulfil its mandate.

In the same way that the NHT, National Insurance Scheme, CHASE Fund, etc., continue to contribute positively to nation building as a consequence of payroll deductions and taxes on lottery winnings into their coffers, the health sector should also see improvements, saving itself from medical madness while hopefully lessening the easy spend of NHT cash to rescue business interests of the politically aligned.