Resident doctors pledge to suspend May 7 strike

…meet Speaker, Finance Minister in Abuja

Ndubuisi Ugah

The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Tuesday promised to suspend its planned strike billed to commence on May 7.
The doctors dropped this hint after a meeting with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, in Abuja.
In a statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Speaker, Mr Lanre Lasisi, the doctors said they would suspend the planned strike, as soon as they received their salary arrears ranging from one to five months.
The statement said NARD took the position after the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said funds were available for the payment.
The minister assured that her ministry would pay once a verified list of the beneficiaries was received, giving her word that payment would be made by May 7.
The statement also said that the Director-General of the Budget Office, Mr Ben Akabueze, had confirmed at the meeting that his office was already in receipt of the list.
It could be recalled that the resident doctors had in April embarked on an indefinite strike, after making some demands, which included non-payment of house officers and abolishment of bench fees.
In addition, the doctors also demanded the payment of national minimum wage, salary shortfall for 2014, 2015, and 2016, residency training allowance, and payment of resident doctors on the GIFMIS platform.
According to the statement, all the issues raised by the doctors had been resolved, except that of salary shortfall for 2014, 2015, and 2016.
The statement noted that the issue involved all health workers with a cost implication of about N23 billion, which the Minister of State for Health, Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora, described as “huge and complicated.”


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