Print Edition - 2015-06-15 | News
Health Ministry flooded with tax exemption requests
Jun 14, 2015-
With the extension of the deadline to waive taxes on relief goods meant for the support of earthquake victims, the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has been getting numerous letters seeking tax waivers on medical equipment and medicines.
The government has twice extended the deadline on waiving taxes after many organisations complained that their goods have been stuck in customs. Until May 27 after the Great Earthquake struck on April 25, all of the organisations could avail the no-tax-on-goods services. The deadline was extended for a week but with a condition that these goods should be distributed only through government channels. It is now extended till June 22.
Officials at the ministry said they are getting at least 6-7 requests on daily basis from organisations seeking tax clearance from customs mainly at the Tribhuvan International Airport and Birgunj Customs Office.
According to Rajib Pokhrel, under-secretary at the ministry, the medical goods include equipment such as X-ray machines; drugs and medical implants mainly orthopaedic pins, rods and plates; water purifier and oral rehydration solution. Pokhrel said some organisations who will not distribute goods through the government channels have also filed for tax waivers which are being rejected for further process.
Earlier under the government’s one-door system, the ministry had set up an “Equipment Custom Release Desk” for the speedy clearance of such medicines and essential medical equipment from the TIA customs.
The ministry directly writes to the respective custom offices for tax waiver if the organisations bringing in medical goods as relief ensure that the goods will go either into the Logistics Management Division of the Department of Health Services or respective District Health Offices. Meanwhile, the ministry is planning to monitor the relief goods provided by various organisations to ensure that they have reached the respective government health institutions.
In case of foreign medical teams, they have been leaving many types of equipment and drugs before their return. Dr Khem Karki, who is looking after the FMTs at the ministry said the teams have been taking along only very expensive equipment and some narcotic drugs. “We are also monitoring if the goods that were tax waived have reached to the concerned people,” said
Published: 15-06-2015 08:12