The Federal Government has released the sum of N4.5 billion to 31 Federal Teaching and Medical Centres across the country. According to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, who briefed State House Correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, the payment covered hazard and inducement allowances for the month of April and May. With the release, the government expressed the hope that the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) would call off the ongoing strike action.
The NARD had on Sunday directed its members to down tools over shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and poor remuneration for members as they battle the raging coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Ngige said: “Just this morning, before we went to see Mr President, the Ministry of Finance reported that as at this morning, 3am, they have paid the allowances for hazard and inducement to 31 teaching and Federal Medical Centres (FMCs) and specialist hospitals of the Federal Government service. “And they have expended close to N4.5 billion in the payment because, we are paying them the arrears of April and May.
The payment for June will also be done immediately these ones are sorted out. “Again, it’s important to report to you that in consonance with what he’s saying, we have arranged a meeting for them to speak to the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) because you don’t mix apples and oranges. “The issue of health is on the concurrent list, so the federal government will do its own and the state government will be expected to do their own. Some of their grievances border on what they feel the state governments have not done.” Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire on his part said: “We hope that there is a solution in sight; what we have done is to brief the President of the country, who, as we all know, has the final responsibility for everything that goes on in government. Those of us who are ministers administer our ministries and have to report to him periodically. “In this particular case, it has been important to report to him how things have been because of the strike action of resident doctors. We have to report to him the implications and the possible consequences of such a strike action. “He listened to us carefully, of course he is not happy that it has come this way and we all hope that it would be resolved after all the demands that were made have been resolved.”