FG rejects NMA 21-day ultimatum

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The Federal Government has accused the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) of failing to fulfill its part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) it signed nine days ago to end the ongoing strike by the National Association of Resident Doctors.

The NMA had threatened to join the ongoing strike by resident doctors if the government failed to resolve all the issues contained in the various agreements signed with its affiliate unions within the next 21 days.

But the minister of labour and employment, Chris Ngige says the ultimatum is in direct collision with the MoU it signed on August 21, 2021.

A statement by the spokesman of the ministry, Charles Akpan, said the government was “religiously implementing its own side of the agreement, with effective monitoring by office of the minister”.

“First is that that the  NMA communiqué in Benin, which issued a 21-day ultimatum is at variance with the timeline in Article II, Vii, Vii and X of the MoA.

“Importantly, Article II on payment of the outstanding hazard allowance from the 2020 Medical Residency Training Fund states that the fund will be paid after verification and reconciliation of figures from the BOF. Till now, both NARD/Postgraduate Medical College are yet to submit the validated application for the eligible doctors missed out in 2020 to enable this payment.

“Article Vii on withdrawal of the circular from the Office of the Head of Service removing House and NYSC Doctors from the scheme of service the NMA should submit her position immediately to the FMOH PS (FMOH) for onward transmission to the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation with a view to processing and issuance of clarification circular within two months. The NMA is yet to comply with this.

“Similarly, the technical committee set up in article Vii to tackle the backlog of arrears on GISMIS was given four weeks effective Monday, August 31, 2021 to round off its assignments.  Is this not on collision with the 21-day ultimatum?” the statement read.

“Also, Article X of the MoU also states that the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) should facilitate the withdrawal of suits by MEDSABAM against National Salaries Income and Wages Commission (NSIWC) and the Accountant General of the Federation to ensure the amicable resolution of the issues. The NMA is yet to do this; yet, (it is) issuing a fresh ultimatum.

“It is, therefore, clear that the 21-day ultimatum will neither assist the NMA discharge the role assigned to it in the MoU nor facilitate the faithful implementation of the timeline which the federal government has given every attention.

“The truth is that NMA should play its role as the guardian of its affiliate associations instead of descending into the arena for needless fear of impeachment.

“It has by the communiqué issued in Benin, abdicated the main role assigned to it in the August 21 MoU,” the statement added.

NMA’s ultimatum is the latest in the lingering tussle between the federal government and NARD which commenced its strike on August second. All efforts to resolve the dispute between the two parties have yielded no results.




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