General news

FG, striking doctors sign fresh agreement to end action




By Joan Nwagwu

The federal government on Saturday signed a Memorandum of Action (MoA) with the striking Nigerian Association of Resident Physicians (NARD) to end the action.

The MoA was the second in two weeks. The first was signed on March 31, but was later rejected by the striking doctors.

Labor and Employment Minister Senator Chris Ngige said in Abuja on Saturday that the new memorandum of understanding was signed after a conciliation meeting between representatives of the federal government and those of the NARD.

Ngige said Saturday’s meeting became necessary to change the first memorandum of understanding signed with the striking doctors.

He said there were irregularities in the payment of House officials’ salaries, adding that while some had received double payments, a few had not been paid.

“Faced with this situation, a committee of five men has been set up to harmonize the list of officers concerned 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,” Ngige said.

He said health facilities affected by the non-payment of wage shortfalls between 2014 and 2016 and arrears resulting from the resulting adjustment of the national minimum wage had been urged to transfer their workforce.

“’This allows us to factor that into the 2021 Supplementary Budget,” he said.

The Minister noted that the issue of risk compensation was not unique to NARD members, but that it affected the entire health system.

He said the Presidential Wages Committee (PCS) would meet with the National Wages, Incomes and Wages Commission on April 12 to consider the issue of risk pay.

The Minister added that the NMA, the Joint Unions of the health sector, the NARD and other stakeholders will meet on April 14, 2021 with the PCS with their positions on the issue.

Ngige called on NARD to give the conciliation process a chance to bring about industrial peace by calling off the strike.

NARD chairman Dr Okhuaihesuyi Uyilawa has promised to present the latest deal to members to call off the strike.

Medical residents began a nationwide strike on April 1 to demand improved social assistance programs. (NOPE)


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