Islamabad  -   The government has almost slashed half of funds allocation for Ministry of National Health Services in Public Sector Development Programme 2019-20 as compared to previous year, The Nation learnt on Thursday.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government had though vowed revamping the health infrastructure of the country, but the funds allocation in PSDP 2019-20 gave a different picture.

According to documents available with The Nation, the government has allocated Rs13.46 billion in the PSDP 2019-20. The allocated funds include Rs3.40 billion foreign assistance and Rs10.06 billion as local component.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)’s last government had allocated Rs25.03 billion in the PSDP 2018-19 for the ministry of NHS. The foreign assistance in previous PSDP was Rs2.15 billion while the local component was Rs28.59 billion.

The revised allocation of PSDP funds for the ministry of NHS was Rs10.89 billion which included Rs2.034 billion as foreign assistance and Rs8.86 billion as local assistance for health programmes.

Officials at ministry of NHS said that though the administrative domain of ministry of NHS had become limited after the 18th Amendment, but still the ministry was running important health programmes in the federal territory and across the country.

The officials said that all immunisation programmes including 12 vertical health programmes were being managed by the ministry of NHS, while after abolishment of the ministry of Capital Administration and Development Division, two major hospitals of the city including PIMS and Federal Government Services Hospital (Polyclinic) were also added as the ministry’s attached departments.

“It will be difficult to revamp the health infrastructure with limited funds,” said a senior official of the ministry of NHS.

Meanwhile, the finance division also released supplementary grant of Rs1049.67 million for the ministry of NHS.    The notification said the above amount had been cleared by the budget wing of Finance Division.

Senate standing committee on NHS was earlier briefed that the ministry of NHS failed in utilising funds allocated in PSDP 2018-19 and secured only 49 percent of funds during the entire fiscal year.  The health ministry officials briefed the committee that this year the ministry will receive around Rs2372 million lesser amounts than the previous fiscal year.

It was not awarded 49 percent of the funds allocated in previous PSDP. Secretary ministry of NHS Captain (R) Zahid Saeed had told the committee that the ministry was presenting proposal of PSDP 2019-20 fiscal years for approval.  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 damaged the pace of health projects which were to be completed in previous fiscal year.

The senate body was also told that the ministry of NHS had stopped funding of all vertical health programmes since June 2018.