No One Will Be Denied Hospital Treatment Over Tax – Lagos Govt.
Jul 10, 2008 - The Lagos State Government Thursday declared that no resident would be denied treatment in any of the State’s hospitals on account of being unable to produce tax clearance certificate.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, who made the declaration while briefing Government House Correspondents at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre Alausa, said in arriving at the decision, Government was conscious of the fact that the issue bordered on the life and welfare of Lagosians.
Dr. Idris said although current campaign by the State Government for funds to accomplish its programmes in the health sector would not be compromised, it would not affect the treatment of the sick in the State’s health facilities.
“Although we need all the money to accomplish the numerous programmes we have embarked upon to upgrade our health sector, the position of Government is that nobody will be denied treatment in any of our hospitals on account of not being able to produce tax certificate”, Idris said.
He however, urged Lagosians to endeavour to pay their taxes without being forced pointing out that Government depends on the taxes paid by the people to fund all the programmes and projects it has in the sector including payment of salaries to health workers and hospital personnel.
Also speaking on the need for tax compliance in the State, the Special Adviser on Taxation to the State Governor, Mr. Ade Ipaiye, emphasized that State Government has a lot of projects which it intends to achieve for the benefit of Lagosians pointing out that the actualization of these projects depends on availability of funds which come from tax.
“The Lagos State Government will continue to explain and clarify the issue of taxation because it has a lot of programmes which it has drawn up for the development of the State and the achievement of all these is based on tax”, Ipaiye said.
According to Ipaiye, “the tax we are talking about is income tax which means it concerns all those who are earning any form of income in the State; whether as workers or businessmen or artisans”, adding that all who, for any reason, do not earn any income are exempted from paying tax.
On multiple taxation, Ipaiye said the House of Assembly was in the process of coming out with a bill stipulating the number of taxes payable in the State adding that the government would soon establish tax complaints and clarification offices across the State to assist income earners to know the taxes they are expected to pay.
“I think what we should guide against is illegal levies”, the Special Adviser said adding that government would use every opportunity that offered itself to demand and collect tax from income earners in the State.
Earlier the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Barrister Opeyemi Bamidele, in his introductory remark at the briefing which also had in attendance the Special Adviser to the Governor on Information and Strategy Mr. Segun Ayobolu, said Government would not go about chasing people in the streets to pay their taxes as this would disrupt the activities of even those who were tax compliant, but it would make use of agencies such as LASTMA to demand and collect taxes from those arrested for traffic and other offences.