Robinson: 2% tax on wages for NHI is “a lazy and easy way out”

Bain and Grants Town Member of Parliament Travis Robinson declared that he will not support any additional tax on the back of Bahamians, as the government proposes to introduce a two per cent tax on wages to fund National Health insurance.

In an interview with Eyewitness News on Wednesday, Robinson said while he had not been fully appraised of how the new health plan will be funded, a tax is not a step in the right direction. He called on the government to be more creative as they seek to generate additional revenue.

The Bain and Grants town MP, who also voted against the 4.5 increase in value-added tax (VAT), and was fired from his post as Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism as a consequence, said there has to be an alternative.

“I know that the hospital and medication and dialysis are a major concern in the health sector right now, but there must be another way to tackle this other than tax,” Robinson said.

“It is a lazy and easy way out. We have to become more creative and strategic on how we address these issues affecting Bahamian citizens and I say this without fear of contradiction. It is a lazy way to address this.”

Robinson pointed out that he represents one of the poorest constituencies with individuals who are either unemployed or are simply unable to work.

“No one is comfortable with any talk of a new tax,” Robinson said.

“From my standpoint, the amount of people who are reliant on social services assistance has increased since VAT was increased and the mere thought of a new tax will drive them further into despair.”

The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) announced earlier this week that Bahamians will be required to pay two per cent of their annual salaries for healthcare if the new proposed National Health Insurance plan is implemented.

In total, each person will be expected to contribute $1,000 annually or $83 a month. However, officials said employers will be responsible for at least 50 per cent of that payment.