Public Accounts Committee conducts public hearing with MoH
The Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly (NA) conducts public hearing with the Ministry of Health (MoH) on 19 August.
The resolution requires the agencies to resolve unresolved audit irregularities pending between 2009 and 2013 to Royal Audit Authority latest by 30 March 2016.
Of the six unresolved audit issues with MoH between 2009 and 2013, four issues have been resolved, but the committee raised a number of questions on the unresolved audit irregularities.
An office assistant acting as an accounts assistant at Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital had misused revenue collections in 2012 and the other outstanding advances against its officials in 2010 are still unresolved.
However, for the two unresolved issues, an official from the ministry responded that one of the employees had passed away and the other is serving a prison term. She said that the one who had passed away was withheld as he had loans with National Pension and Provident Fund.
According to the Royal Audit Authority (RAA), the Department Of Medical Services had made excess payment of Nu1.14 million for purchases of 10,300 vials at Nu.115 per vial from Karma Tshongkhang in 2011 and 2012.
A committee member, MP Karma Tenzin, questioned on the tender given to Karma Tshongkhang when the firm was the fourth lowest evaluated bidder which made the price difference of more than 500 percent.
The health secretary, Dr. Ugyen Dophu, responded that the three bidders who quoted the lowest prices were not registered with Drug Regulatory Authority (DRA) whereas Karma Tshongkhang was registered with DRA. The lowest evaluated bidder KSD medical quoted a price of Nu. 3.74 per vial won the bid. However, it failed to supply the drug because the drug was not registered with DRA.
An official from MoH said that penalty of Nu. 4 million has been imposed on KSD medical service and the firm has since been closed.
However, the RAA insisted on reimbursement of the fund.
Dr. Ugyen Dophu said that in case the drugs are urgently required in the health sector but not registered with DRA, they are procured with the approval from the DRA and the ministry taking the responsibility to ensure quality.
He also said that 98 percent of essential drugs are available in any health facilities at any point of time.
MoH provided detailed clarification and updated on all the issues to the committee. Therefore, the committee member expressed satisfaction over the efforts of MoH in resolving issues as per the resolutions of the Parliament.
MoH was represented by Secretary Dr. Ugyen Dophu and other senior officials.
After the public hearing, the members of the committee held a press conference on the same issues.
The public hearing with MoH was conducted in accordance with the section 23 of the rules of procedure of public accounts Committee 2015.
According to the committee, the next public hearing is expected to be held on 24 August with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The public hearing was conducted by the Chairperson, Dophu Drukpa, and committee members based on the resolutions of the 6th session of the Second Parliament.
The joint committees, comprising members from both the houses, were established to review and report on related issues to Parliament.
More than 40 personnel, including speaker of NA, the cabinet members, and members of the opposition party, media personnel and other officials attended the hearing.