Firdous wants control of all authorities, Pemra, Nepra, Ogra
Abdul Sattar Khan
LAHORE: While Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani is already facing hard times, a member of his cabinet Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Minister for National Regulations and Services, has not only demanded to place all the regulatory authorities of the country and all the health related entities under the administrative control of her ministry.
She has also requested the allocation of Rs300 million in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for the year 2012-13.
After receiving a detailed briefing on assuming the charge of the ministry on the working, performance, plans and missions of his ministry, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan wrote a letter to Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani urging him to initiate some important policy interventions essentially required to be taken in this regard.
In a bid to convince PM Yusuf Raza Gilani, the former Information Minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan has stated in her letter that in principle, all regulatory authorities/agencies must be housed under one umbrella for which only the Ministry of Regulations and Services seems to be an ideal platform for this exclusive purpose.
Detailing the reasons, Dr Firdous Awan stated in her letter that presently, of all the regulatory authorities, only the Drug Regulatory Agency (DRA) of Pakistan has been placed under the administrative control of her ministry.
“It is in the fitness of things that rest of the regulatory authorities like Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra), Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) etc, should be placed under the ministry of regulations and services.
Further pursuing in what could be termed an important development in near future, Dr Awan argued that “similarly, all the health related entities previously under the devolved Ministry of Health, which includes all the Vertical Programmes, National Programme for Family Planning and Health Care (NPFPHC); Maternal & Neonatal Child Health Programme (MNCH); Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI); TB Control Programme; National Rollback Malaria Programme (NRMP); HIV/Aids Control Programme, National Hepatitis Control Programme (NHCP); National Blindness Control Programme (NBCP); National Health Information Resources Center (NHRC); National Nutrition Programme (NNP); and Breast Cancer Screening Programme (BCSP).
In addition to these health related entities and programmes, Dr Awan also stated that “PM Health Complex; Health Services Academy (HSA); National Institute of Health (NIH); Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS); Poly Clinic renamed as National Institute of Rehabilitative Medicines (NIRM) could also be legitimately placed back under the supervision and administrative control of this ministry.”
Legitimizing her demand for Rs300 million allocations for the year 2012-13, Dr Awan gave a reason in her letter that ìon account of late notification of this ministry and its subsequent teething problems, the approved calendars of the Planning Commission for development projects could not be followed.
Under the circumstances, a block allocation of Rs300 million in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for the year 2012-13 be earmarked to this ministry for the projects relating to urgent interventions for the vitally needed enhancement of Drugs Testing Labs and Vigilance Bodies for preventing tragic incidents like the recent one at Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) Lahore.”
Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan could not be contacted despite repeated attempts on her cell phone and despite dropping messages for her version.