The Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) has condemned what it called double taxation of its members by some government authorities in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The Chairman of the FCT chapter of the association, Sunday Ike, made the condemnation in an interview with newsmen in Abuja.
Ike said double taxation would hike the price of drugs out of the reach of the common man thereby impeding the people’s access to quality healthcare.
He listed such taxation as business premises permit, tenement rate and premises inspection fee, among others.
“We do not want double taxation because we are rendering services to communities, some of which are free. We help to improve health indices of the society.
“We do not want a situation where our members will be placed under pressure through double taxation.
“When the local government authorities mount pressure on our members to pay certain levies they will not go to their villages to sell land to pay them.
“The pharmacists will rather include such levies in the cost of drugs they sell.
“Local government authorities should stop seeing drug and pharmacist as articles for trade or avenue for revenue.
“All these double taxation and harassment do not give a good image of the authorities and do not give our members enough room to relax and effectively carry out their duties,” he said.
He emphasised that the activities of the members had been approved by the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) and did not need any other regulatory body.
“Community pharmacists are law-abiding citizens and we will pay any levy that is approved by law.
“We are partnering with government to render services at various communities. So, we beg the concerned authorities to stop seeing drugs and us as an avenue for revenue.
“The Federal Government has overall control over us and determines fees that are practicable and to be paid by practitioners.
“We appeal especially to these field workers to see us as partners in progress working toward improvement of the country’s health indices,” Ike said.