By Chioma Obinna & Gabriel Olawale
LAGOS—Resident Doctors at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital will be challenging the controversial tax deduction from their salaries in court.
A source, who is also an executive member of the Association of Resident Doctors, LUTH-ARD, disclosed that they had already contracted a lawyer, Mr. Bamidele Aturu, to get across to the Chief Medical Director of the hospitals on what their grouse was and challenged them in court.
Also, the national body of the resident doctors has called on Lagos State Government to stop taxation on allowances of doctors, blaming the state government on the crisis rocking the hospital.
The source, who pleaded anonymity, stated that the association was also writing an official letter to the Chief Medical Director on the implications of what will become of everything once it came to litigation.
He said: “We have decided to challenge the basis of the law. We have contracted a lawyer, Barrister Bamidele Aturu who will get to the Chief Medical Director, CMD, by tomorrow (today) on what our grounds are and we hope to challenge all these in court.
“However, we intend to write the CMD of the implications of what will become of everything once it becomes litigation. Here nothing works in LUTH. Here, he is going to look for money to contract a lawyer to challenge such things that will lead to more people dying.
“Our position is that it is not in the position of LUTH to continue to make health workers poorer and think they will make better services on quality of research, patient’s treatment. “It is only in LUTH they are doing it for now. Meanwhile they are making efforts to start it in other places but people are resisting it.”
Questioning the basis of the law, he queried: Why must call duties, which to a simple lay man, is an overtime that you can decide to pay or not be taxed? The agreement from when call duty started is that an average doctor does like 90 units, but because it was not going to be taxed, we say 40, now the government woke up one day and said they are going to tax call duty without consulting anybody. “Why must teaching and hazard allowance, which is about N5,000.00 be tasked?”
Reacting to the strike, the national president of the association, Dr. Lawal Akinlade, who condemned the decision of the state government to tax allowances, which include Call duty, Teaching and Hazard allowances, said the strike will only end when the government stopped the deductions.
He called on the state government to review some of the allowances of the doctors currently being taxed by the state government to save lives.
Akinlade argued that allowances including call duty health hazard and teaching should not be taxed.