By Joan Nwagwu
The federal government praised the Nigerian Association of Resident Physicians (NARD) for suspending its nationwide strike which had lasted 63 days.
Labor and Employment Minister Senator Chris Ngige praised him when he received the leadership of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), which headed the executive members of NARD, during 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 allocation of risk of 40 billion naira to 47 billion naira per year.
He said the latest strike would not have escalated to the point where it has come if the old 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 the NARD went on strike.
He noted, however, that there were controversies over the allowances, such as the Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF) and some doctors who did not receive the COVID-19 special allowances.
The minister assured that all contentious issues were addressed, including the payment of the Medical Residency Training Fund and special COVID-19 allowances for those missed.
“The previous management of NARD has gathered information from your members. Instead, things wouldn’t have escalated. You don’t have to be a pugilist. We know we have opposition to our government. That’s not to say that if we’re doing something right, we shouldn’t be praised.
“If the former leaders of NARD were not doing politics, they should have reported well to their members, especially after the intervention of the Elders Forum of which the President and General Secretary of NARD were members.
“You are lucky to have me here, doctor and manager of the health system, as Minister of Labor and Employment. So when the case arises, the issues are clear to me.
“But, when you give advice to both parties on how things should be done and that is completely thrown away, you leave us with no choice but to do what the law says we should do.
“This is why I referred this case to the Nigerian National Labor Court (NICN),” he said.
Ngige explained that the issue of the circular removing NYSC doctors and interns from the service program was the decision of the National Council of Institutions chaired by the Federation service chief, ”he said.
On the issue of migrating some doctors to the GFMIS platform, Ngige explained that there were things the government could not do immediately, but needed time to accomplish them.
Ngige praised the new NARD leaders for their openness to dialogue, saying that information reached him showed that they had passed through offices for the welfare of their members, which their predecessors did not know. patience to do.
On the issue of benefits for deceased doctors, he said the government had received a report that the closest relatives of the deceased doctors had not been seen.
However, they called on the minister to speed up the full implementation of the memorandum of understanding they concluded with the government.