The federal government has announced that contrary to the popularly painted narrative by the striking members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), no doctor or health worker in Nigeria is owed their monthly salary.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, made the disclosure at the opening of the meeting of the Presidential Committee on Salaries with the leadership of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) in Abuja.
Ngige said the propaganda which the Resident doctors are trying to push is jeopardizing the reality of the Federal Government’s efforts to re-position the health sector.
“NARD goes about telling Nigerians that government is oweing them salaries and that government is not taking the problems in the health sector serious. But this is not true. It is incorrect. No doctor, nurse, pharmacist or any other health worker including the driver is owed monthly salary. Government pays as and when due.”
“The truth is that NARD doctors fail to tell Nigerians that their colleagues who are owed salaries are the ones illegally recruited and were therefore neither captured by the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation nor were their payments provided for by the Budget Office of the Federation.
“Monthly salaries are done as and when due for those legitimately employed by the Federal Government but not to those illegally employed and who need their appointments regularized and captured in the finances of government for payment. This takes a process which is not accomplished overnight.”
Ngige clarified that the Federal Government only owe few doctors and other workers the 2020 COVID-19 allowance, besides the arrears of the consequential adjustment of the National Minimum Wage and skipping allowance which the government is working towards sorting.
He however blamed the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and JOHESU for bringing segregation in the negotiation for the new hazard allowance which the Federal Government already budgeted the sum of N37.5b for.
“We started joint negotiation to round off discussion and implement new hazard allowance as early as possible so as to stave off the current wolf-crying by doctors. They brought in segregation and couldn’t agree with JOHESU and both now want separate negotiations. Why then blame the government and make it an issue to strike for.”