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ISLAMABAD: Elite hospitals and laboratories in the capital, which earn billions by providing unaffordable healthcare facilities to helpless masses, managed to dodge the government once again by paying just a peanut of less than one billion rupees in the form of taxes.

The elite private hospices and laboratories in the capital cunningly managed to hoodwink Prime Minister Imran Khan and his redundant tax machinery by paying a peanut of less than Rs1 billion, which is nothing but an eyewash.

Minister for Finance Shaukat Tarin told the4 National Assembly that private hospitals/clinics and laboratories in capital paid Rs836 million as income tax and Rs449 million as sales tax in tax year 2021.

In a written reply to a question about the number of patients treated by the hospices in capital, Tarin came with a strange logic, saying "details of number of patients examined, admitted, operated, and fees are not separately mentioned in the returns, and therefore, not readily available".

The tiny amount collected as tax from private hospices in capital is a big question mark on the poor performance showed by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) as it has no idea how much money the private hospital mafia collected in wake of Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

According to reports, at least 79 per cent of private hospitals in the country do not pay taxes on profits earned as they are not formally registered under the country's taxation system - a big failure of the FBR.

During the question hour, the minister informed the National Assembly that field formations of the FBR collected Rs2.2 billion and Rs2.73 billion from Karachi in 2019-20 and 2020-21, respectively.

In a written reply to a question, he said that out of total Rs61 billion development funds allocated for Karachi, Rs52 billion have been released by the federal government under the PSDP during fiscal year 2019-20 and 2020-21 for the development of Karachi.

In complete contrast of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) manifesto, the minister for finance informed the House that the banks have so far "written/charged off"Rs53.5 billion loans during the last three years - 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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