ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Monday extended the Federal Medical Teaching Institute Ordinance 2020 for further 120 days amid resistance from the opposition which said the government’s move would pave the way for privatisation of government hospitals.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan tabled the bill and the house adopted it, extending the ordinance for 120 days with effect from March 13.
Speaking on a point of order, senior leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said the opposition wanted to move a resolution against the ordinance.
He said the government wanted to privatise medical teaching institutions in the country which was not acceptable to the opposition, adding that the government must allow the opposition to discuss the serious issue that affects the masses.
PPP opposes move, saying the decision will pave way for privatisation of hospitals
The PPP leader said that provision of health and education was the basic responsibility of any government in the world and these must be provided to the masses free of cost.
NA Speaker Asad Qaisar said that every legislation or parliamentary intervention would be considered as per rules and the resolution for rejecting the ordinance might be moved on the private member’s day.
Parliamentary Secretary of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Dr Nausheen Hamid claimed that the government did not want to privatise the Pakistan Institution of Medical Sciences (PIMS).
She said the government would make PIMS an autonomous institution to make it capable of serving the masses in a better way.
About strike by the doctors and paramedical staff of PIMS, Dr Nausheen said that all six demands of staff of the hospital had been accepted and the strike had been called off.
She said that the Federal Medical Teaching Institute Ordinance 2020 was in the Standing Committee on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination and the opposition must give its suggestions to the committee in this regard.
Earlier, two ordinances — the Income Tax (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 and the PAF Air War College Institute Ordinance 2021 were laid in the house.
Minister for Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh laid the Mid-Year Budget Review Report FY 2020-21 in the house. A member of the Standing Committee on Human Rights presented reports of the committee on the Islamabad Capital Territory Senior Citizens Bill 2020 and the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill 2019.
On behalf of the chairman of the Standing Committee on Interior, a member of the committee presented reports on the Pakistan Arms (Amendment) Bill 2020 and the Covid-19 (Prevention of Hoarding) Bill 2020.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance and Revenue on Monday informed the National Assembly that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) had played an important role in the growth of Islamic banking in the country.
In reply to some questions asked by MNA Maulana Muhammad Jamaluddin, Parliamentary Secretary of Finance and Revenue Makhdoom Zain Hussain Qureshi said the SBP was among a few institutions which had introduced comprehensive legal, regulatory and Shariah-compliant framework for Islamic banking in the country.
He said that owing to efforts made by the SBP to promote Islamic banking, the institution had been given the award of “The Best Central Bank of the Year 2020” by Global Islamic Finance Awards (GIFA)–Edbiz Consulting, UK.
In reply to a question about the rising inflation in the country, the parliamentary secretary of finance said the government had taken various measures to control price hike to provide relief to the masses, asserting that prices of food and other items had shown no increase.
He said that inflation rates over the last three years had been as under: “Fiscal year 2018-19, 6.8 per cent; fiscal year 2019-20, 10.7 per cent; and fiscal year 2020-21 (July-June) 8.2 per cent.”
He said the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet had approved imports of wheat and sugar to ensure availability of these commodities in the country at reasonable prices.
Published in Dawn, March 2nd, 2021