Nigeria’s Federal government has presented resident doctors with a new commitment in order to get them to call off their ongoing strike.
Rising from another conciliation meeting between federal government and the National Association Resident Doctors (NARD) held Friday, both sides tried to resolve various issues fuelling the current strike including; non-payment of House Officers / non-recruitment of House officers; abolishment of the Bench fees; non-payment of National Minimum Wage consequential adjustment arrears.
Other issues taken up at the meeting were residency training allowance; hazard allowance and payment of Resident Doctors on GIFMIS platform.
The meeting which was a follow up to the conciliatory meeting of March 31 saw both sides taking a step further to iron out grey’s areas of concern.
In the issue of the non-payment of House Officers salaries, a 5-man Committee was set up to harmonise the list of the names submitted by NARD to the Chairman of Committee of Chief Medical Directors (CCMD) and MDCN.
The Committee was asked to work for 72 hours and to produce a valid list to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) through the Federal Ministry of Health.
IPPIS is to as soon as possible create a platform where all payments made and the recipients would be made available for accessibility and information to determine those that have been paid and those not paid.
On the issue of abolishment of the bench fees, CMDs are to waive this payment and that the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Health will issue a circular to this effect and send a memorandum on this for ratification at the National Council of Health (NCH) whenever it is convened.
Regarding the non-payment of national minimum wage consequential adjustment arrears and salary shortfall in 2014 – 2016 for resident doctors, the meeting agreed that the CCMDs should immediately submit list of affected institutions and personnel strength in order for it to be captured in the 2021 Supplementary Budget.
It stated that the arrears should be from April 2019 to December 2019.
Also on the isuue of residency training allowance it was resolved that 1003 doctors not paid would be captured in the 2021 Supplementary Budget while those wrongly paid would be requested to refund same.
The meeting noted that the issue of hazard allowance was not peculiar to NARD but cuts across the entire Health Sector and her workforce.
The meeting noted that the Presidential Committee on Salaries (PCS) would be meeting on Monday, 12th April, 2021 at the Federal Ministry of Finance to examine the hazard allowance issue with National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC) after which the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), NARD and other stakeholders will meet on Wednesday, 14th April.
On Group Life Insurance claims for deceased NARD members, NARD should facilitate the forwarding of the list of the affected members to the relevant insurance Companies for payment through the Federal Ministry of Health on or before end of April.
“NARD is to communicate to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige on their decision before 12 noon of 10th April, 2021.
No member of NARD is to be punished for this strike,” the MoA said.
Friday’s agreement was jointly signed by NARD president Dr Okhuaihesuyi Uyilawa General Secretary, of Nigeria Medical Association (NMA)Dr. Philips U. Ekpe, General Secretary of NARD, Dr Jerry Isogun on the side of the doctors and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Abdulazizi Marshi, Director, IPPIS (OAGF) J. A. Momoh and Director, IPPIS (OAGF) Registrar MDCN, Tajudeen Sanusi.
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja