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Taxes on ostomy equipment: CJP summons FBR chairman, others

Taxes on ostomy equipment: CJP summons FBR chairman, others

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar has summoned Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman, finance secretary, federal and all provincial health secretaries for their appearance on December 5 after taking notice of imposition of heavy taxes and duty on ostomy equipment for cancer patients.

The notices have also been issued to Attorney General for Pakistan and all Advocates General. The move comes after the top judge takes notice over application of a cancer patient namely Mrs Shabnum Meraj and others in SC Human Rights cell.

The applicant while defining ostomy says it is a surgical procedure used to create an opening for urine and faeces to be released from the body.

It is submitted all ostomy equipment being sold in Pakistan is substandard and very expensive. Each set ranges between Rs650 to Rs1,100. A patient requires at least eight sets in a month considering that it needs to be changed frequently, like dressing on a wound.

According to the present taxation rules in Pakistan, total duty of 41% on value of the bags and related parts used to attach bag to the body is levied on all imported ostomy equipment.

The applicants contend it is patently inconsiderable and extremely cruel to levy such high rates of duties and taxes on these bags and related articles without which cancer patients cannot survive.

The cancer patients have requested the CJP to direct executive authorities to remove all manner of taxation from ostomy equipment as such steps would lead to reduction of price and grant relief to cancer patients, who have to spend large sums of money on these life preserving bags and related articles.