’No cabinet paper submitted to acquire NFTH’: Official

There was no cabinet paper produced to acquire the assets of Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital (NFTH), Senior Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet Office Jude Nilukshan informed the Presidential Commission today.

Testifying before the Commission on Wednesday, Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Rajitha Senaratne said that the Cabinet of ministers approved his proposal to acquire the assets of NFTH.

However, Senior Assistant Secretary said that the Minister had submitted a Cabinet paper on August 13, 2019, requesting to appoint a committee to look into the acquisition of NFTH.

"The decision to appoint a committee to look into the acquisition of NFTH has been approved by the Cabinet on September 9, 2019," he said.

It was also mentioned in the Cabinet paper to provide Rs.250 million monthly for the maintenance of NFTH. However, a witness informed the Commission that the Ministry of Finance had disagreed to provide that amount.

He also said that if the government is going to acquire the NFTH, at the first instance the Health Ministry has to discuss with Bank of Ceylon (BoC) since the NFTH has borrowed a loan amounting to Rs. 2.5 billion.

When commissioners questioned witness also said that the memorandum of understanding (MoU) has also not signed between NFTH, Health Ministry and the Ministry of Higher Education. (Yoshitha Perera)

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