ISLAMABAD - The ministry of National Health Services secured only 49 percent of funds allocated in the previous Public Sector Development Program 2018-19 due to utilisation capacity problems, Senate body on NHS was told on Thursday.

The meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on the NHS was held here under the chairmanship of Senator Mian Ateeq Sheikh to various different points on agenda including recommendation of the PSDP (2019-20) proposal presented by ministry of the NHS.

The committee expressed concerns when it was briefed that the ministry remained unsuccessful in completing and expediting its projects approved in previous fiscal year.

The health ministry official briefed the committee where this year the ministry will receive around Rs2372 million lesser amounts than the previous fiscal year.

It has been also not awarded 49percent of the funds allocated in previous PSDP (2018-19)

Secretary ministry of NHS Captain (R) Zahid Saeed briefed the committee that though the ministry was presenting proposal of PSDP 2019-20 fiscal years for approval. But it is still looking towards planning commission for release of funds approved in PSDP 2018-19.

He said that due to non-release of third and 4rth quarter funds, a large number of health projects would be added in next PSDP of 2019-20.

He also said that non-release of funds has damaged the pace of the health projects which were to be completed in previous fiscal year.

“And now this year already less funds for the health ministry have been allocated,” he said.

The secretary NHS said for PSDP 2019-20, the ministry has proposed allocation of Rs16120.371million for 64 projects.  He said that out of the total allocated funds Rs6120.130 will be foreign component.

Describing the breakup of the 64 projects, Secretary NHS Zahid Saeed said that 21 projects are ongoing while 24 new projects have been approved for next PSDP 2019-20.

He also said that the ministry has also proposed 19 other projects which are though unapproved for which Rs442.483million allocation has been proposed.

Secretary NHS also briefed the committee that in previous fiscal year of 2018-19, funds of Rs18493.164million were allocated in PSD for 35 projects.

He said that out of the allocated funds, only RS9421.33million was released which only 51percent of the total amount allocated are.

Minister of state for NHS Dr. Zafar Mirza said that Pakistan is rated at lowest rank in EMRO region which has 22 countries in the list.  He said that the standard of public health is unsatisfactory in the country.

Senator Dr. Asad Ashraf while commenting on non-release of funds by planning commission said that the commission claims that no file there is hold more than seven days when it is moved there for approval.

He said that the ministry of NHS needs to explain about its performance of expenditure of the funds released to it.

Senator Mehar Taj Roghani also said that the planning commission releases further funds viewing the expenditure of the funds released in earlier quarters. 

Chairman committee on this occasion directed the ministry to present the details of utilization of funds allocated in previous PSDP, while also expressed concerns on non-release of 51percent of funds by planning commission.

The committee was also said that National Institute of Health (NIH) has upgraded its infrastructure and will start production of anti-venom vaccine for entire country from ongoing year.  The committee also urged a detailed briefing on polio program by health officials.