By Luke Anami
The Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) is opposed to proposals to increase contributions to the National Hospital Insurance Fund.
In a statement signed by Secretary General, Francis Atwoli, Cotu said the new proposals, if implemented, would be unaffordable to most workers.
‘‘We wish to clarify that contrary to a perception created over its stand on the proposed new charges, Cotu is in principle opposed to this planned scheme, which wholly remains strange to the Kenyan worker,’’ Atwoli said.
He claimed majority workers were not adequately informed on the implications of the new proposals and were only learning them through the media.
‘‘‘It is the prerogative of the NHIF management to explain what the scheme entails and what benefits it will bring to workers,’’ he said.
Atwoli, in opposing the proposals, said Kenyan workers were among the highest taxed worldwide and that the new scheme will be a major burden.
‘‘Any additional burden of tax on their meager pay will not be tolerated unless such a move is clear on the subsequent extra benefits workers will receive,’’ added.
Atwoli is opposed to the claims despite the fact he seats on the NHIF board.
He claimed the new scheme the had fallen short of the workers’ expectations.
But in a swift response, NHIF CEO Richard Kerich defended the plan saying the proposals were yet to be implemented and that consultations were ongoing.
Kerich called for dialogue with those opposed to the proposals.
‘‘The proposals have not been implemented. We are still in consultations with the private sector, government and other partners, including Cotu,’’ Kerich said.
He reiterated that NHIF would carry out adequate consultations before the scheme is fully operational.
‘‘We respect Cotu’s stand. There is no need to panic as there is still room for further discussions with workers on the issue,’’ said Kerich.