Government starts process to acquire Manmohan Institute

  • Medical college may be turned into public entity as per new policy
- Manish Gautam, Kathmandu

Feb 23, 2016-

The government has initiated the process to take ownership of the Manmohan Institute of Health Sciences (MIHS) in order to run it as a public entity after severe criticism of its move allegedly in favour of CPN-UML leaders and Members of Parliament who have stakes in the institute.

The government last week formed a committee to look into the possibility of the government operating the MIHS as a public hospital. Rajendra Pandey, a UML MP, chairs the private entity.

A committee led by Dr Guna Raj Lohani, chief of the curative division at the Health Ministry, has under-secretaries from the ministries of Education, Finance and Law as members. Other members include an under-secretary from the Public Procurement Monitoring Office and a representative from the Association of Chartered Accountants of Nepal.

Dr Lohani said they received the letter from the Prime Minister’s Office on Sunday evening and will begin work on Tuesday.

“If the government should own the health institute, we’ll recommend it,” said Dr Lohani. The committee has to submit its report within two weeks.

The committee will study the institution’s profile and about the organisation that runs it--Nepal Health Care Cooperative Limited. It will figure out ways to compensate the shareholders, repay its loans and learn about other financial matters. Besides, the team will recommend possible acquiring mechanisms and ways to clear legal hurdles in the process.

The government took this measure following pressure from all quarters to withdraw a bill that would provide legal basis for the medical college to run MBBS programmes as an academy. The government had tabled the “Manmohan Adhikari Academy of Health Sciences-2015 Bill” in Parliament on December 25 last year. In its wake, civil society members led by Kedar Bhakta Mathema, former vice-chancellor of the Tribhuvan University, exerted pressure on the government to withdraw the bill. The leaders argue that circumventing the rules to grant the institute medical college status would set a bad precedent.

A commission chaired by Mathema that formulated the Health Profession Education Policy bars establishing new medical colleges in Kathmandu Valley within the next decade. However, the policy provided the government leeway to acquire the property if the owners agree to it.

As pressure mounted, Tourism Minister Ananda Pokhrel, who was a shareholder of the institute, withdrew his shares worth Rs200,000.

As the new committee takes up the matter on Tuesday, Mathema suggested that the government should acquire the infrastructure and hand it over to the National Academy of Medical Sciences that runs Bir Hospital. “The government can use the hospital and academic buildings to run the NAMS’s post-graduate programmes,” said Mathema. “Adequate compensation should be provided to the shareholders.”

Published: 23-02-2016 08:15

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