Despite interventions from the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) have embarked on an indefinite nationwide strike.
NARD President, Dr Aliyu Sokomba, while addressing a press conference in Abuja on Monday, stated that strike is binding on all resident doctors, medical officers below the rank of Principal Medical Officer (PMO), and House Officers across all the Federal and State Hospitals in Nigeria.
He however noted that the union had decided to exempt its members working in various coronavirus (COVID-19) isolation and treatment centres across the country, for the first 2 weeks after which they will join the industrial action.
According to Sokomba, the exemption was made in recognition of the intervention of Hon. Tanko Sanunu, Chairman House Committee on Health Services, other stakeholders and a demonstration of NARD goodwill to the country.
NAN reports that the union had reached this decision at a virtual extra-ordinary National Executive Council meeting of the association held on Sunday to review the 14-days ultimatum earlier issued.
Sokomba noted that despite series of meetings between the doctors and the Federal Government in the last two weeks, several issues remained unresolved.
Some of these issues according to him include non-payment of special allowances for the resident doctors, the deplorable state of hospitals and the lack of protective equipment for members of the union treating COVID-19 patients leading to the death of some doctors in recent times.
The doctors are also asking for universal implementation of the Medical Residency Training Act in all Federal and State Hospitals and ensuring pay parity among doctors of equal cadre, provision of funding of medical residency training in the 2021 appropriation bill, as well as the implementation of the revised hazard and payment of agreed COVID-19 inducement allowances.
“Immediate implementation of the revised hazard allowance and payment of the COVID-19 inducement allowance agreed with the government and healthcare workers three months ago.
“Stoppage and immediate refund of all illegal, unjust and callous cut in salaries of our members by Kaduna State and other state governments,” Sokomba said.
Meanwhile, Speaker Gbajabiamila had expressed surprise over their insistence on the industrial action, after what he described as a successful meeting between the union, the two ministers manning the Ministry of Health, and stakeholders from the National Assembly by last Tuesday.
He noted that efforts had already been put in place to meet their demands, as the sum of N4 billion was approved by the House on Wednesday and confirmed by the Senate on Thursday, for the commencement of funding of residency programme as provided for by the Medical Residency Training Act.
On the issue of a template for implementation, Gbajabiamila directed that an emergency meeting with the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission be held on Monday, June 15, to produce a template within the next 48 hours.
He had also promised that the House would come up with a law to back the payment of hazard allowance and define the same for clarity. He assured them at the meeting that the resident doctors’ training would be captured in the 2021 budget whether or not it is included by the Executive in the ministry’s budget.
With the steps taken, the Speaker had appealed to the union to stay the action for a while as the government speeds up the process of meeting their demands.
His appeal notwithstanding, the union commenced the indefinite strike by midnight of Monday, June 15.
Senate approves issuance of N148bn promissory notes to Bayelsa, 4 others
Promissory notes worth N148,141,969,161.24 has been approved by the Senate as refund to Bayelsa, Cross River, Ondo, Osun and Rivers States
Promissory notes worth N148.141billion have been approved by the Senate as a refund to Bayelsa, Cross River, Ondo, Osun, and Rivers States for projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government.
The approval which was given by the Senate at the plenary on Tuesday, 24th November 2020, came after the presentation of a report by the Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, led by Senator Ordia Clifford (PDP-Edo).
According to a news report by NAN, this is a go-ahead to the Federal Government, who had sought the approval of the Senate for issuance of promissory notes for a refund on federal projects executed by State governments.
The request was contained in a letter addressed to President of Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan by President Muhammadu Buhari, and read at plenary. The Senate referred the matter to the Committee on Local and Foreign Debts for further legislative input.
Senator Ordia Clifford, while presenting the report of the committee, said the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance; Federal Commissioners of Finance and Works in the five states, had briefed the committee on details of the projects.
He said the Committee was presented with documents relating to the approvals of the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing for the execution of the projects and certificates of completion, amongst other documents.
At the plenary today, Senator Ordia moved the motion that the Senate approves the Committee’s recommendations by approving the issuance of the promissory notes to the State governments.
According to him, the amount due to the five states is N148.14billion.
- Bayelsa was allotted N38.40billion
- Cross River was allotted N18.39billion
- Ondo was allotted N7.82billion
- Osun was allotted N4.57billion
- Rivers was allotted N78.95billion
What they are saying
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, disclosed that records showed PDP states had the highest refund, he said: “If you look at the list of states, only two are APC states and they have the least in terms of refund, this is fantastic and a mark of leadership by the Federal Government. This shows tolerance and leadership by this administration.”
CBN retains MPR at 11.5%, holds other parameters constant
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), voted unanimously to keep the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), at 11.5%.
The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has voted unanimously to keep the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), at 11.5%.
This was disclosed by Governor, CBN, Godwin Emefiele while reading the communique at the end of the MPC meeting on Tuesday. Other parameters such as Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR), Liquidity ratio, and asymmetric corridor remain unchanged.
Highlights of the Committee’s decision
- MPR was kept at 11.50%
- The asymmetric corridor of +100/-700 basis points around the MPR
- CRR was retained at 27.5%
- While Liquid Ratio was also kept at 30%
The Committee noted that inflation continued to be driven by supply-side disruptions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and other legacy factors. Key amongst these are the security challenges in parts of the country; the increase in food prices; and the recent hike in the pump price of PMS and electricity tariff.
The MPC emphasized the need to address structural supply-side issues putting upward pressure on costs of production and unemployment.
Meanwhile, to address the public health crisis associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Committee urged the Federal Government to make relentless effort to procure a substantial quantity of the COVID-19 vaccines to surmount the public health crisis and pave the way for a broader macroeconomic recovery.
The Governor highlighted that the current economic recession had been anticipated by the monetary and fiscal authorities, which prompted them to put measures in place to quicken the reversion. The Committee, however, noted that the economic contraction had bottomed out in Q3 2020 since it moderated significantly from -6.1% recorded in Q2 2020 to -3.62%.
What this means
The decision of the Central Bank to retain the monetary policy, despite a rise in inflationary pressure, indicates that the apex bank aims to expand credit to the real sector at low-interest rates.
This action will hope to boost production, increase business activities in the country, and also increase consumer spending.
Gov. Makinde presents N266 billion budget to Oyo State House of Assembly
Governor Seyi Makinde has presented a ₦266.64billion budget proposal to the Oyo State House of Assembly.
The Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, presented the Budget Proposal for the 2021 Fiscal Year to the Oyo State House of Assembly. The total budgeted sum is ₦266.64billion, with education expected to receive N56.35billion – 21% of the budget and a rise from N12 billion budgeted in 2019.
This was disclosed by Governor Makinde in a social media post on Monday.
It was my honour to present the Oyo State Budget Proposal for the 2021 Fiscal Year to the Oyo State House of Assembly, today. This Budget of Continued Consolidation was prepared with input from stakeholders in all seven geopolitical zones of our state. pic.twitter.com/6ys0XFOgh1
— Seyi Makinde (@seyiamakinde) November 23, 2020
According to NAN, Mr. Makinde disclosed on social media that the ‘Budget of Continued Consolidation’ was prepared with input from stakeholders in all seven geopolitical zones of the state.
“The total budgeted sum is ₦266.64billion The Recurrent Expenditure is ₦136.26billion, while the Capital Expenditure is ₦130.38billion. We are again, aiming for at least 70% implementation of the budget,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria also disclosed that infrastructure spending in the budget would be N46.06billion – representing 17.27% of the total budget and an increase of N33.66 billion over that of last year.
Other sectors include Agriculture which represents 3.6% valued at N9.58billion and Healthcare taking 4.9% of the budget with an N13.29billion allocation.
The Governor disclosed that Oyo has reduced its infrastructure deficit and made improvements in the areas of healthcare, education, and others.
“We have been able to lower our infrastructural deficit, make improvements in healthcare delivery, improve the quality of education, and achieve milestones in our security systems,” he said.
He also added that the state had recorded a 26% increase in IGR at N25.6 billion and hopes to increase IGR to over N100 billion for the 2021 budget.
“As of September, we had recorded an IGR of N25.6 billion. And using the half-year figures, it represented a 26.4% increase in IGR year-on-year. Oyo State’s IGR is presently about 32% of actual aggregate revenue.
“We still have not achieved a total dependence on the state’s income outside of the federal allocation to fund the budget. Slowly, but surely, we are getting there.
“For the 2021 budget, our plan is to increase our annual IGR to N102.82billion. We hope to achieve this by widening the tax net to bring in more taxpayers into the system,” he added.