Friday, 24 May 2013
LUTH Resident Doctors To Embark On Indefinite Strike Over Excessive Income Tax
Resident Doctors at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital [LUTH] have embarked on an indefinite strike action over the implementation of a new tax law which they criticize as exorbitant and lacking in uniform application.
Following a congress of the members last Friday which discussed the financial burden occasioned by the new tax law, the association immediately embarked on an indefinite strike action pending the resolution of the tax issues.
The Secretary of the Association of LUTH Resident Doctors, Dr. Kehinde Okunade, told SaharaReporters that the resolve to embark on a strike followed review of certain conditions of service at the hospital.
He said their work conditions were deteriorating every day, and that erratic power supply, lack of water in the hospital wards and poor training programs for the doctors, among other issues, have remained unresolved for many years. The management of LUTH, he added, has over-applied the federal government’s new tax law without bothering about the unpleasant conditions of service at the hospital.
“Despite that the condition of service here is too poor, there is no light in the wards, no water, blood bank not functioning properly and all they can do is implement a new tax law that some of us now pay N30,000 as tax,” he pointed out.
The doctors fault the manner of implementation of the new tax law at LUTH, noting that only doctors in the hospital pay in excess where their counterparts pay normal rate stipulated by the law.
The new tax law by the Federal Government came into effect in June 2011, but the resident doctors say it was introduced by the management at LUTH in August 2012.
“But the management began to take arrears of the new tax from January that it had not yet been introduced from our Call Duty allowances so that we were paying N58,000 in total tax now,” Dr. Okunade said. The resident doctors also argued that their Call Duty allowance is normally not taxable.
The doctors also hold that they have previously made serious complaints about the issue, the outcome of which the joint tax board published last Monday and Tuesday in the national dailies explanations of rates to be paid according to the law. They allege that the published analyses by the joint tax board are not same as those being applied by the LUTH management.
“We [in LUTH] are the only ones paying this high. Others are also paying the new tax law but not as high as this. They pay the normal rate demanded by the new tax law but in LUTH, it is almost double what the new tax law asks that we pay.
“Joint tax board on Monday and Tuesday published in two national dailies the interpretation of the new tax law, which reveals to us that somebody who should pay about N17,000 according to the law is paying N38,000 in LUTH,” Dr. Okunade continued.
The doctors say that the message of their strike is that the management of LUTH should revert to the status quo to permit for proper discussion of the new tax system. They say they are at a loss as to the calculation adopted by the management that has made their payable income taxes so high and as a result will not open for operations until their terms are met.
It would be recalled that Lagos State resident doctors were also recently in a showdown with the State Government over non-implementation of the Consolidated Medical Salary Scale [CONMESS], and embarked on a long strike action that denied medical attention to many people. Those doctors also say their issue with the State Government has yet not resolved.