Print Edition - 2016-03-25 | News
Govt committee advises against MMIHS takeover
Mar 25, 2016-
The fate of the controversial Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences (MMIHS) hangs in the balance, with a government committee suggesting that it should not be made a state entity.
The committee led by Dr Guna Raj Lohani of the Ministry of Health and Population has advised that the government should not take over the private institution, in which majority of stakes are controlled by the leaders of the ruling CPN-UML, citing lack of legal grounds and risk of setting a bad precedent.
The Lohani-led committee was formed to assess whether the MMIHS could be taken over the by government.
The committee stated that there are no laws that speak on the acquisition of any private institution. It also said that a move to acquire the institution [by the government] would violate the free market economic policy adopted by the government.
The committee in its report has argued that taking over the MMIHS would also mean that the government should be prepared for future acquisition of other private institutions. On December 25 last year, the government had tabled the “Manmohan Adhikari Academy of Health Sciences-2015 Bill” in Parliament, aiming at giving the MMIHS the status of an autonomous academy.
The move immediately sparked controversy, with civil society members led by Kedar Bhakta Mathema, former vice-chancellor of Tribhuvan University, putting pressure on the government to withdraw the bill. They argued that circumventing rules to grant the institute autonomous status would set a bad precedent.
A Mathema-led commission, formed after a series of hunger strikes by Dr Govinda KC, had also recommended against new medical colleges in the Kathmandu Valley.
The Health Profession Education Policy, prepared by the Mathema-led commission, however, had given the government the leeway to acquire any private entity with the consent from the owners.
In this context, following pressure from several quarters, the government had formed the Lohani-led committee which comprised under-secretaries from the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Law. Other members include an under-secretary from the Public Procurement Monitoring Office and a representative from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nepal.
The Lohani-led committee’s report has also stated that the government should form a separate panel to evaluate the actual property of the MMIHS if it wishes to acquire it.
The committee has found the value of MMIHS assets to the tune of over Rs 2 billion as per its audited financial report for the fiscal year 2013-14. The committee submitted the report to Health Secretary Shanta Bahadur Shrestha on Monday. Shrestha said the report was submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday.
Experts say the government should take a prudent decision based on necessity.“Since Bir Hospital is in dire need of additional facilities, acquiring the MMIHS can be a win-win solution for all parties,” said Mathema. “This is the right time for the government to take all required measures to ensure it has a well-equipped facility for the government hospital. It would also provide the investors of the MMIHS the much-needed compensation.”
- Country lacks governing laws that speak on the acquisition of any private institution
- Move of taking over the institute could set a bad precedent
- Acquiring the institution [by the government] would violate the free market economic policy
- Taking over the MMIHS would also mean that the government should be prepared for future acquisition of other private institutions
- Government should form a separate panel to evaluate the actual property of the MMIHS
Published: 25-03-2016 08:43