FNC seeks answers from Cabinet after abolished law is enacted

FNC members plan to discuss delay in Cabinet responses to their proposals and confusion over an approval no longer possible at their next session.

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ABU DHABI // A Federal National Council request to the Cabinet to enact a law establishing a National Health Authority has been approved – two years too late.

The law was abolished in 2011, prompting a council member to ask why the Cabinet would approve a non-existent law.

“They agreed on the health authority recently but the law drawn up to establish it has been dissolved since 2011,” said Ahmed Al Shamsi (Ajman), during a session last week. “So how did this happen?”

He said the approval meant there was either confusion over the issue or the Cabinet had forgotten that the law no longer existed.

Mr Al Shamsi also objected to the Cabinet’s years-long delay in responding to the council.

While most of the recommendations for the health law were made in 2010 – by an entirely different council – he said the Cabinet only responded last week.

“How is it possible that three years later we get a response?” he asked.

Other proposals made to the Cabinet back then included encouraging Emiratisation and increasing the budget.

The Cabinet agreed to promote national employment but did not approve a budget increase.

Mr Al Shamsi questioned how the former could be done if the latter was not.

A final refusal was to establish an authority to monitor medication in the country. The council has asked for such a body three times.

Mr Al Shamsi made the latest plea to the Minister of Health, Dr Abdul Rahman Al Owais.

“The market is filled with medication and herbal medicine,” Mr Al Shamsi told the minister. “Our children buy those unprescribed medicines and suffer from side effects. When medicine is imported from countries the UAE should assess them based on rules and regulations. By doing so we will be competitive with other markets.”

Dr Al Owais agreed that a law regulating the pharmaceutical sector was necessary but did not make any promises.

The FNC speaker, Mohammed Al Murr, asked the council if it wanted all of the issues raised by Mr Al Shamsi to be taken to the health committee for study, with members saying they would prefer to discuss things with the Government immediately.

Mr Al Shamsi said Dr Anwar Gargash, the Minister of State for FNC Affairs and the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, would discuss the matter with members at the next session, to be held on December 24.