VENTURES AFRICA- Resident Doctors in Nigeria have appealed to the Federal Government of Nigeria to exempt them from paying the newly introduced Personal Income Tax Act (PITA).
The resident Doctors who spoke under the umbrella of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) at the Ministry of Health, argued that their call duty, hazard and teaching allowances were being taxed unjustly.
NARD President Dr. Lawal Akindele while speaking on behalf of his group said, “The implementation of the new Personal Income Tax Act has been generating a lot of unrest in our health institutions. This is because the call duty, hazard and teaching allowances are now being taxed.”
“We humbly request that the call duty, hazard and teaching allowances for doctors be exempted from taxation. ”
The medical practioners also want the eradication of what they tagged diminishing relativity in wages among doctors and health workers, urging that the wages of workers be calculated based on length and rigours of training, work hours, exposure to hazards and degrees of scarcity of skills, in line with international best practices.
According to them, “Over the years, there had been different scales for remuneration of health workers. But the worst appears to be consolidated salary, which lumped together all health workers under the same scale irrespective of the fact that there are doctors, medical laboratory scientists, nurses, accountants and administrators, among others, in the hospital environment.”
However, Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu said “It is not the mandate of the Ministry of Health to decide taxation issues. We do have the Federal Inland Revenue Service and the Joint Tax Board. I believe this matter can be properly discussed with the agencies. If the tax is too high, government will cue into it.”
The Doctors also urged the Health Ministry to hasten the recommencement of overseas clinical training for resident doctors which was re-introduced by the government few months back.
“The residency training committee report earlier submitted in April 2010 revisited the issue of overseas clinical training for doctors, which it also strongly recommended. This mandatory overseas training would satisfy the prescribed exposure and criteria for college examination,” NARD said.
The Rowland Ndoma-Egba Committee report was inaugurated in 2010 to review the residency programme in Nigeria and one of the recommendations made by the committee was to examine the one year clinical attachment/training abroad for resident doctors.