The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has asked the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), to end the ongoing indefinite strike which they embarked on.
The resident doctors downed tools in the early hours of Monday protesting failure of the government to meet some of their demands.
According to Ngige in a statement, the resident doctors have no reason to embark on an indefinite strike as more than half of their demands have already been addressed.
The Minister, who listed the efforts by the Federal Government, maintained that six out of the eight demands have already been addressed.
“Recall that most of the issues listed in the demands are issues that have been under Conciliation since May 2020 that resulted in their strike in June 2019.
“The NARD leadership in three conciliatory meetings with the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) leadership in attendance can attest that out of the eight (8) demands listed after their Bauchi NEC meeting, the Federal Government via the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) and Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (FMoFB&NP) has already addressed about six of the demands comprehensively and satisfactorily.”
He said despite the economic challenges facing the country, and a revenue shortfall, the government has been able to spend N20 billion on health workers between April and June this year.
“Even with the lean resources available due to the COVID-19 effect on oil output and price resulting in low revenue, the Federal Government has addressed the COVID-19 Special Hazard and Inducement Allowances for Medical and Health Workers to the extent that as of today, N20 billion has been expended by the FMoH and FMoF&NP on this allowance for April, May, and June 2020 with very little grey areas of outstanding payments to some Health Workers for June 2020.”
The Minister noted that “the issue of Group Life Insurance for Medical and Health Workers were also dealt with fully with the Office of the Head of Service passing the records to both NARD and FMoH, to pass on to their medical doctors and other health workers to make appropriate claims when necessary, with the details of the 13 Leading Insurance companies and brokers, an exercise that cost the Federal Government N9.3 billion as a premium to run from the COVID-19 period of March 2020 to March 2021.”
He stated that the life insurance covers both Health professionals and workers, and all federal civil servants and public servants in federal organisations.
Ngige also revealed that the Federal Government appropriated the sum of N4 billion from the Special Intervention COVID-19 N500 billion 2020 Appropriation, for funding of Medical Residency Training and with intent to do the same in the ongoing 2021 Budget to be submitted to NASS for consideration and that the N4 billion has been processed for payment.
The Minister has however fixed September 9 to reconvene the ongoing conciliation meeting between NARD, the Federal Ministry of Health, and the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning.