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Multiple taxation: AMAC challenges court jurisdiction to hear medical directors’ case

The Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) has said that the FCT High Court, Jabi, has no jurisdiction over the case of multiple taxation brought before it by the Guild of Medical Directors, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) branch.

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 The guild had sued AMAC at the court over multiple taxes and levies imposed on its members by AMAC. It seeks a  judicial review of the taxes and levies in order to reduce the burden on its members.

 Mr Yakubu Haruna, counsel to AMAC, while bringing a preliminary objection before the court on the matter, said the procedure used by the applicant to come to court was unknown to AMAC.

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Haruna said the case was instituted without the prior notice of AMAC, adding, “I do not know how to respond to the applicant’s originating summon, because there is no provision in the rule for filing the statement of claim.”

Mr Adewale Aderele, counsel to the applicant, however, said the rule of the court did not stipulate how an originating motion should be brought.

He said notwithstanding the claim of the respondent, he was confident that the judge would rule in accordance with the law.  

He said: “There is a law that guides the kind of taxes and levies payable to government by operators of any income generating ventures in the country.

“Under the law, local governments can only collect taxes and levies on tenement rates.”

 He explained that there had been cases where members of the guild were asked to pay radio and television fees, environmental fees, trade and operating license fees.

The counsel said some hospitals were sometimes charged between N500,000 and N1 million as taxes, stressing that it was affecting the capacity of medical doctors to deliver quality services in the FCT.

Justice Charles Angbaza, however adjourned the matter until March 8, for hearing on the pending application. 

Chairperson of the organisation, Chito Nwana, said AMAC imposed taxes that had no business with hospitals.

 She said the guild was willing to pay every legal taxes, but that it was wrong to impose taxes that were illegal as doing so crippled the private sector.

 

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