BY DOYIN OJOSIPE, Abuja –
Private Medical Doctors in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, have protested ‘obnoxious taxes’ placed on their hospitals by the government.
This is as the doctors are being charged about 20 different taxes, including, television, radio, environmental, monitoring and trade and operating taxes among others.
The doctors had also approached an FCT High Court for judicial review of taxes and levies paid by members to Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC).
In a press release made available to journalists, the doctors noted that the gesture is not in the interest of many Nigerians who seek medical care at private hospitals.
The chairman, Guild of Medical Directors, Dr Chido Nwana had also revealed that while hospitals pay taxes to the tune of N500, 000 to N3 million, many get crippled and could not even afford the purchase of hospital equipment for specific treatment of ailments.
According to him, “Different agencies of government within the FCT have descended on private hospitals in the FCT with duplicitous multitude of crippling taxes. The government through its agencies is making life difficult for health care practitioners and will ultimately force many to close.
“This will have a devastating effect on health care delivery in the FCT as private hospitals currently treat up to 70 per cent of patients requiring health care.”
They also pointed out that while private hospitals operate within very small margins, consumption of their revenues by government agencies through multiple taxes would affect standard of healthcare delivery including survival.
“The danger of this to the community is that it will not only further deplete the medical workforce but also diminish quality access to health care services. It is pertinent to emphasize the distinction between a purely commercial entity and the fact that private health facilities render an essential social service,” they added.
Meanwhile, the Guild of Medical Doctors has disclosed that it will not hesitate to go further in seeking justice for doctors and Nigerians as far as health was concerned.