Hopes rise as Nigerian govt, striking doctors sign fresh agreement

April 10, 2021
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The Federal Government on Saturday signed a Memorandum of Action (MoA) with striking Nigeria Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to end the action.

The MoA was the second in a fortnight. The first one was signed on March 31, but was later rejected by the striking doctors.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said on Saturday in Abuja that the new MoA was signed after a conciliatory meeting between representatives of the Federal Government and those of NARD.

Mr Ngige said Saturday’s meeting became necessary to amend the first MoA signed with the striking doctors.

He said that there were irregularities in the payment of salaries of house officers, adding that while some got double payments, a few had not been paid.

“In view of this situation, a five-man committee was set up to harmonise the list of affected officers and they have 72 hours to produce a valid list.

“The list will be submitted to the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System through the Federal Ministry of Health,’’ Mr Ngige said.

He said health institutions affected by the non-payment of salary shortfalls between 2014 and 2016 and arrears arising from the consequential adjustment on the National Minimum Wage, had been directed to forward their personnel strength.

“’This is to enable us to accommodate this in the 2021 supplementary budget,’’ he said.

Hazard alowance

The minister noted that the issue of Hazard Allowance was not peculiar to members of NARD but that it cut across the entire health system.

He said that the Presidential Committee on Salaries (PCS) would meet with the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission on April 12 to examine the Hazard Allowance issue.

The minister added that the NMA, the Joint Health Sector Unions, NARD and other ‘stakeholders’ would meet on April 14, 2021 with the PCS with their position papers on the issue.

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Mr Ngige appealed to NARD to give the conciliation process a chance for industrial peace to prevail by calling off the strike.

Response

Meanwhile, NARD President, Okhuaihesuyi Uyilawa, promised to present the latest agreement before members with a view to calling off the strike.

Resident doctors began a nationwide strike on April 1 to demand for improved welfare packages.

(NAN)

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