The Federal Government has praised the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) for suspending its nationwide strike, adding it has increased the aggregate money in the 2022 budget for hazard allowance from N40 billion to N47 billion annually.
This was disclosed by Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, in a meeting with members of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), and leading NARD executive members, on Wednesday, in Abuja, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.
He praised the NARD leadership for ending the strike that had paralyzed Nigeria’s healthcare institutions while announcing the increased hazard allowance for the 2022 budget.
What the Minister said
Ngige said the Federal Government was not indebted to any doctor up till August 2, when NARD embarked on the strike, citing issues related to allowances, including the Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF) and some doctors who were not paid the Special COVID-19 allowances, and promised that all issues would be addressed, including the payment of Medical Residency Training Fund and Special COVID-19 allowances for those omitted.
“The previous NARD leadership hoarded information from your members. Instead, things wouldn’t have degenerated. There is no need being pugilistic. We know that we have opposition to our government. It doesn’t mean that if we are doing something right, we should not be praised.
“If the former NARD leadership were not playing politics, they should have reported well to their members, especially after the intervention of the Elders Forum of which the President and Secretary-General of NARD were members.
“You are lucky to have me, a medical doctor and health system manager here as the Minister of Labour and Employment. So, when the matter came, the issues are clear to me.
“But, when you bring advice to both parties on how things should be done and it is thrown away completely, you leave us with no other option than to do what the law says that we should be doing.
“That was why I sent this matter to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN),” Ngige said.
On the circular on removing NYSC doctors and house officers from the scheme of service, the Minister said it was the decision of the National Council on Establishments chaired by the Head of Service of the Federation.
He praised the new leadership of NARD for agreeing to dialogue, and said the FG was working on a report for next of kin of doctors. The new NARD President, Dr Godiya Ishaya, called for the full implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding they entered with the government.
In case you missed it
It can be recalled that the resident doctors had on August 1, commenced the strike action over salary arrears owed by the government, and irregular payment of salaries, among other welfare issues.
Nairametrics reported earlier this week that the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) had suspended its 2-month old nationwide industrial action.