Parking space at JDWNRH, health worker grievance and RAA clarifies on statutory auditing

Lack of parking space at JDWNRH

I on behalf of general public and as a concerned citizen, would like to draw your kind attention regarding the above subject. Our city lack parking space due to booming constructions and rapid growth of vehicle population.

The government and relevant stakeholders are trying their best to de-congest the city roads by building multi-storey vehicle parks and mandatory basement car parking for private owned buildings.

It is just opposite for JDWNRH management. Recently, the hospital administration awarded the contract to private firm to convert its underground parking lot with capacity to accommodate 120 cars to gym and fitness, recreation, restaurant, coffee stall and garment shop, which will be leased out . Yes, it will fetch good revenue comparing to fees collected from vehicles. But money is not everything.

Public convenience needs to be given priority.

Thimphu Thromde should look into the matter urgently.

Ugyen Namgyal
Upper Motithang
(Published on May 30, 2018)

RAA responds to issues with statutory auditing

Below is the response by the Royal Audit Authority (RAA) to an earlier article titled “Issues with statutory auditing“.

The Royal Audit Authority (RAA) would like to thank the author for raising the concern. However, the RAA feels the author is not adequately informed and would have done little better had the RAA been consulted before publishing such misleading article.

Insofar as the RAA is concerned, in pursuit of promoting professionally qualified Bhutanese accountants, a Policy on Outsourcing of Audit Services was launched as early as 2014, which provides a broad framework on how Bhutanese can apply for empanelment with RAA.

Although there are close to 50 professionally qualified Bhutanese accountants, our records show that after the launching of Policy on Outsourcing of Audit Services in 2014 followed by announcement inviting Expression of Interest in July 2015, so far we have received only four applications, who are all empanelled with us, which can be viewed on our webpage www.bhutanaudit.gov.bt apart from two other firms who have been empanelled for audit of Civil Society Organizations and Religious Organizations.

One of the reasons for low number of applicants could be due to restrictions imposed by relevant rules and regulations from practicing while still employed either as civil servants or corporate employees.

While the RAA fully understands the consequences of outsourcing statutory audits to chartered firms from outside the country and its impact on the government foreign reserves and capacity development of Bhutanese accountants, the RAA could not help it due to lack of qualified professional firms approaching for empanelment as clearly testified by the number of applications received after the launching of the Policy and the announcement.

The RAA has always welcomed and would continue to welcome professionally qualified Bhutanese accountants from taking up the practice. However, it is also equally important to understand that globally it is a highly regulated profession to ensure its credibility and the quality of services provided. As such, the RAA must exercise due diligence in considering firms on our panel to live up to the expectations of the profession. In encouraging our professionally qualified Bhutanese accountants to take up the practice, the RAA has kept the empanelment window open for an indefinite period unlike for firms from outside the country, which are given only three months for every empanelment cycle in three years.

To start with we have appointed two firms as auditors of incorporated companies for the year ending 2017 apart from audit of Civil Society Organizations and Religious Organizations.

Furthermore, the RAA has also written to the Ministry of Economic Affairs in February 2018 requesting for an appropriate government policy intervention to stimulate and encourage  professionally qualified Bhutanese accountants to take up the practice.

The RAA appreciates and would always welcome valid concerns in the future.

Royal Audit Authority
(Published on May 31, 2018)

Don’t take away JDWNRH parking

Every part of Thimphu city suffers from parking space crunch due to booming constructions and rapid increase in vehicles.

The government and relevant stakeholders are trying to de-congest city roads by building multi-storey car park and mandatory basement car parking for private buildings.

It is just the opposite for JDWNRH management. The hospital administration recently awarded a contract to a private firm to convert its underground parking lot capable of accommodating 120 cars into a gym, restaurant, coffee stall and garment shop, which will be leased out. It will fetch more revenue compared to the fees collected from vehicles. But is money everything?

Public convenience must get highest priority and not to disregard the initial planners of this hospital. They had constructed the double story car park foreseeing the future problems.

Where will the patients and their attendants park their cars henceforth? RSTA rules don’t permit residents to park cars along the main road. Even if it is allowed, people have to park their car starting from the fire brigade station in Changzamtog until the Swimming Pool Complex area.

This would affect the ailing and differently-abled patients. None of our city’s footpaths are disable friendly! It is already congested behind the hospital building.

I would humbly request the hospital board members and Thimphu Thromde to kindly look into the matter before it is too late to intervene.

Ugyen Namgyel
Upper Motithang
(Published on June 1, 2018)

Deliberate or oversight decision of JDWNRH board

I take this common forum to discuss the issue in regard to the Office Order Vide Order Ref. No. JDWNRH/ ADM/19/2018-19/13949 dated May 30.

As per the order, in accordance with the 8th Board Meeting of JDWNRH and subsequent Cabinet Secretariat approval, the staff working under JDWNRH administration are exempted from cabin charges and any direct dependent of a staff working under JDWNRH are also exempted 50% of cabin charges.

While this is excellent for all the staff working in JDWNRH, I personally believe that this has come out through the decisions of selective few, which couldn’t be inclusive of the health workers across the country. Every day, doctors, nurses and other affiliated health care providers across the country work equally if not more than the staff of JDWNRH towards a common goal in providing healthcare services across the country.

In imparting this decision, the board has failed to be inclusive of the peripheral work colleagues and caused non-uniformity in reception of benefits among the health workers inside and out of JDWNRH. One may argue that we have a vast number of health workers whereby it won’t be possible to give this provision for all. That is true but that shouldn’t cause non-uniformity among the workers of same group.

JDWNRH is a government facility, and an integral part of Bhutanese healthcare system. To treat the people working in the same system with same dignity is the value inculcated in me from school days. I do not know how the board failed to see this.

I believe the board has the scope and opportunity to review this decision and consequently act in a way that’s inclusive to all the health workers regardless of their place of posting.

A concerned health worker
(Published June 2, 2018)

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