The Kaduna State Government has embarked on audit of over 4,000 private health establishments to ascertain their legality and tax compliance.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that a joint taskforce comprising officials of the Kaduna State Internal Revenue Services, KADIRS, and Ministry of Health was inaugurated to carry out the exercise.
The Executive Chairman of KADIRS, Dr Zaid Abubakar, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Kaduna on Friday that the joint taskforce was part of efforts to ensure that all private health establishments in the state were duly registered and pay taxes due to the state.
He said “KADIRS will ensure that all the establishments pay the necessary tax, while the ministry of health verifies their records to ensure they are duly registered and comply with operational guidelines.
“Those that are registered and comply with operational guidelines and pay their taxes will be allowed to continue operations, but those that are found wanting will be closed down.
“I, therefore, advise all private health facilities, including other businesses that have not been paying their taxes to come forward, register and pay.
“If they fail to do so, we will go after them, shut them down and prosecute them where necessary.”
Ado Garba, the Head of Enforcement, KADIRS, said that the facilities were being assessed based on the provisions of the state tax laws and operational guidelines of the ministry of health.
Mr Garba said that so far, seven private health establishments have been shut down: three in Kaduna North Local Government Area and four in Chikun Local Government Area.
According to him, no private health facility will be allowed to operate in the state without paying all necessary taxes and complying with the operational guidelines set by the ministry of health.
“In fact, those defaulting in payment of taxes within the stipulated time will be made to pay all taxes due to the state, including extra charges for defaulting.”
Dr Ado Zakari-Mohammed, the Director, Medical Services, Ministry of Health, listed the private health establishments to include hospitals, clinics, laboratories and ultrasound centres.
Zakari-Mohammed said that the operation would strengthen the regulation and supervision of private health facilities by the Private Health Establishment Committee.
“We want to ensure that the facilities are fit to operate, located in a good environment and have the required manpower, equipment, and offer quality services.
“We have been witnessing an upsurge in the proliferation of illegal and substandard private health facilities by untrained health officers posing as medical doctors, particularly in rural communities.
“In some cases, some trained nurses will register a clinic to provide outpatient clinical services but will quietly begin admitting patients and even conduct surgery without authorisation, thereby endangering people’s lives.
“This operation will help sanitise the sector. If you have no business running a health centre, or operating below minimum standard, we will close the facility and prosecute you if necessary,” he said.