FG commends NARD for suspending 63-day-old strike, offers N47bn as hazard allowance -GCFRNG
The Federal Government has praised the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) for suspending its nationwide strike that had lasted 63 days.
Labor and Employment Minister Senator Chris Ngige delivered the eulogy when he received leadership from the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), which led NARD executive members, on a visit to his office on Wednesday in Abuja.
Ngige, who praised the new NARD leadership led by Dr. Godiya Ishaya, for asking its members to return to work, revealed that the federal government had increased the total money in the 2022 budget for the 40 thousand risk allocation. million naira to 47 billion naira annually.
He said the latest strike would not have degenerated to the point where it did, if the former NARD leadership had given its members the correct information.
The minister said the federal government was not in debt to any doctors until August 2, when NARD went on strike.
However, he noted that there were disputes over allocations, such as the Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF) and some doctors who were not paid for special COVID-19 allowances.
The minister assured that all contentious issues are being addressed, including the payment of the Training Fund for Medical Residence and special COVID-19 allocations for those omitted.
“The previous leadership of NARD accumulated information from its members. Instead, things would not have degenerated. There is no need to be a boxer. We know that we have opposition to our government. It does not mean that if we are doing something right, we should not be praised.
“If the former leaders of the NARD were not playing politics, they should have informed their members well, especially after the intervention of the Elders’ Forum of which the president and the general secretary of the NARD were members.
“You are lucky to have me here, a doctor and director of the health system, as Minister of Labor and Employment. So when the matter came up, the issues were clear to me.
“But, when you give both parties advice on how things should be done and it gets thrown out entirely, you leave us no choice but to do what the law says we should be doing.
“That is why I referred this matter to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN),” he said.
Ngige explained that the issue of the circular that removes NYSC physicians and officials from the service plan was a decision of the National Facilities Council chaired by the Federation’s Chief of Service, ”he said.
On the issue of the migration of some doctors to the GFMIS platform, Ngige explained that there were things that the government could not do immediately, but needed time to achieve them.
Ngige praised NARD’s new leadership for being receptive to dialogue, and said the information that reached him showed that they had been passing through offices for the well-being of their members, which his predecessors did not have the patience to do.
On the issue of the deceased doctors’ benefits, he said that the government had received a report that the relatives of the deceased doctors were not treated.
Earlier, in separate speeches, NMA Secretary General Dr. Philip Ekpe and new NARD President Dr. Godiya Ishaya thanked Ngige for his reconciliation efforts that led to the resolution of the strike.
However, they called on the minister to speed up the full implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding that they signed with the government.