ISLAMABAD    -   Prime Minister Imran Khan has clarified that the Medical Teaching Institutions (MTI) Ordinance is not privatisation, but part of public sector hospitals’ reform plan of the government.

In a tweet on Thursday, he said that the MTI Ordinance is to enable improved and modern management of public sector hospitals.

The Prime Minister said that the hospitals will remain government hospitals and better managed hospitals will mean better facilities for patients.

His statement comes after the Punjab Medical Teaching Institutions (Reforms) Ordinance 2019 was promulgated this week.

In a post shared on Twitter, Prime Minister Imran clarified that the process was part of a public sector hospitals’ reform plan. “The hospitals will remain government hospitals. Better managed hospitals will mean better facilities for patients,” he added.

The Punjab MTI (Reforms) Ordinance 2019, drafted on the pattern of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s MTI Act, was promulgated after the Punjab governor signed it on Monday last with the approval of the premier.

Following the move, medical practitioners, opposition political parties and social circles decried the ordinance with associations of young doctors, nurses and paramedics pledged to resist the move. The PML-N had announced that it would take the issue to a court while PPP threatened to protest the move and raise the issue in the Punjab Assembly.

According to the MTI Ordinance, the government hospitals would be run by a fully empowered Board of Governors (BoGs) which would consist entirely of members from the private sector. “The BoGs shall also have powers for the appointment of admin officials on key slots and appointment of senior faculty members. The post of principal shall be converted into Dean who shall be appointed by the BoG for a period of five years,” it stated.

Similarly, the document said, there would be a management committee for each hospital, consisting of a hospital director, medical director, nursing and finance directors and two members nominated by the BoG.

APP adds: Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday directed the officials of the Federal Board of Revenue to ensure on-spot-recording of all of their official interactions during visits to different markets.

Chairing a briefing on the performance and reforms in the FBR here, he said the elimination of corruption from the FBR and its reformation was the government’s priority. The revival of public trust in the FBR would also help broaden the tax net, he believed, said a PM Office statement.

Briefing the PM about the FBR performance during the previous fiscal year, Chairman Shabbar Zaidi said the board had collected Rs579 billion revenue till August of the current fiscal, witnessing an increase of 14.65 percent.

It was informed that this year, the number of filers had also increased by more than 783,000 taking the total number of the filers from 1,514,817 in 2017 to 2,561,099 this year.

The prime minister was apprised that 28 percent increase had been registered in the domestic tax collection.

While briefing the PM on the measures being taken to revive the public trust in the FBR and for their facilitation, the FBR chairman said all the phases including registration, issuance of tax certificates, filing of tax returns and audit were being automated to exclude the involvement of the FRB officials in these processes.

The PM was told that in collaboration with NADRA, the FBR had launched a web portal to enable every individual get an online access to the financial details reaching to FBR from various institutions.

The effectiveness of the online complaint resolution had also been enhanced to ensure immediate disposal of the complaints against the FBR officials.

Apprising the PM about the FBR’s steps to ensure ease of doing business, tax refunds worth Rs16 billion had been made and another Rs17 billion would be refunded by month-end.

The taxation system for shopkeepers and retailers was further being eased while a mobile application ‘Tax Asaan’ had been launched to facilitate the taxpayers. The tax forms had been translated into Urdu language while the Urdu version of the FBR website would also be launched.

The active taxpayers’ list is regularly updated to avoid any difficulty to the filers.

Regarding the facilitation of trade, the FBR chief said the export sector was being facilitated through ‘Easy Export’ scheme. Scanners had been installed at various custom stations and the custom facility was available round the clock at Torkham Border. The customs operations at Kartarpur Corridor would start within next few weeks, he added.

Zaidi told the PM that the FBR teams were visiting the markets to aware the people on online registration of mobile phones brought from abroad, currency declaration system at airports and advance passengers information system besides public awareness on the smuggled goods.