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NMA lauds Anambra’s 10 per cent tax refunds



… Appeals for tax reduction for private doctors

CHAIRMAN, Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Anambra State branch, Jide Onyekwelu, has commended Anambra State Government for proper utilisation of tax for development purposes.

Dr Onyekwelu made this commendation at his Obinwanne Hospital, Nkpor, Idemili North Local Government, Anambra State, during an interview.

“The government of Dr Willie Obiano is doing well within this ambit of poor economies across Nigeria.

“Before he became governor, we knew what Awka used to be and we know how it is now with flyovers everywhere. So, there is so much development in Awka, the capital city.

“Akpokuedike as the governor is widely known, will always be appreciated by the people of Iyiora Anam in Anambra West LGA for the bridge he built to link them up with other Anam communities.”

Dr Onyekwelu also praised Gov. Obiano for provision of adequate security in Anambra.

“`We know how it used to be before his coming. Now, we can sleep literally with our two eyes closed. So, he is making good use of the taxpayers’ money.”

The NMA chairman also commended the government for establishing the Anambra State Health Insurance Agency (ASHIA).

“Medical Insurance is the way to go in healthcare delivery, where you pool funds according to capabilities and dispense the funds pooled according to needs. So, I commend him for ASHIA,” he said.

The NMA chief also spoke on the 10 per cent tax refunds currently ongoing, where people that paid their taxes last year in Anambra were being granted relief.

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“It is a beautiful idea that the Anambra Government is giving back a little to taxpayers as COVID-19 palliative. It will help to endear the government to the people.

“And at NMA, we are happy because this is the first time such a thing will come to the people,” Dr Onyekwelu said.

Asked how NMA sees Tax Verification and Compliance Team (TVCT) from Anambra State Internal Revenue Service (AIRS), that ensures that people pay their taxes individually with their ANSSID numbers and not through associations, the NMA chairman said:“It won’t be proper for a group or association to come together and pay the same income tax for everybody because one has to be assessed individually as it is personal.

“ But if you come to other taxes and levies, like environmental sanitation, people should come as a group and pay those ones.

“So, apart from the personal income tax and renewal of registration of our practices, we feel as a body that all these other fees can be paid through NMA.”

The state NMA boss believes that the current measures would stop multiple taxations. “We pay for fire extinguishers, radio licence – influences that impact negatively on the environment, signage and all sorts of things and yet, LGs will still come with their demand notice.

“We have met with the chief of AIRS and have started discussing to select the taxes and levies that we should pay, harmonise them and pay as a group through the NMA.”

He adds: “this is my stand and the stand of NMA as a body, so that it will reduce multiple taxation.”

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Dr Onyekwelu, who is also the medical director of Obinwanne Hospital, Nkpor, appealed to Anambra Government to reduce tax for private doctors.

“`We ask that the Anambra State Government reduces drastically the tax that private doctors pay,” he said.

“If a doctor is assessed to pay N10,000 for example, the government can show empathy on doctors for the sufferings they undergo and make them pay half of the amount.”

“The doctors are paying heavily for a signboard which does not contain any advert. I know that there is a law on signage and you pay depending on the size of your signboard.

“But many hospitals do not put signboards as advert but as direction that there is a health facility in a particular place in case of an accident.

Dr Onyekwelu said that the requirement for the establishment of the hospital is that one needed to have a signboard one metre by one metre square.

“The signboard will contain just the name of the hospital and the address. We don’t say we cure this and we cure that. We have this facility.”

“We render social services and should not be treated like traders in the market. We should not register with the Ministry of Health and still register with the Ministry of Trade and Commerce.

“We should be allowed to register with the Ministry of Health. Government should also give private doctors access to loans to support them,” Dr Onyekwelu said.

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