Sir: This is with reference to a recent report in an English newspaper in which the writer has very vividly covered various tax exemptions enjoyed by different sectors and institutions. In a country where facilities in the social sector, especially for the poor, are in shambles, such exemptions are beyond comprehension. For instance, the market is flooded with second hand medical apparatus, sometimes many years old. After being phased out in the first world the equipment seemingly finds its way to our country through unknown means. Surprisingly, many top-class private sector hospitals in the country are using refurbished diagnostic imaging systems but they charge patients — both poor and affording — exorbitantly. Second hand equipment in many cases does not give very accurate results, endangering the life of the patient.
Secondly, there are supposedly many hospitals in the private sector that enjoy tax/duty/sales tax exemptions on import but everyone knows that many such hospitals cannot be afforded by the downtrodden segment of society. I, therefore, suggest that the government remove tax/duty exemptions from all such sectors mentioned in the referred report and allow duty/sales tax/income tax-free import on the entire social sector including medical apparatus, education material, equipment, etc, so that the import of new equipment is cheaper in the country. We want our society to become healthier and educated enough to face the challenges of the 21st century.