Federal government denies owing salaries to Resident Doctors, NARD
Written by COMFORT 95.1FM on September 8, 2021
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has denied reports that the federal government is owing salaries to doctors under the ageis of the National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD.
The Minister described as propaganda the allegations of the striking doctors that its members were being owed salaries for months, Ngige insisted no doctor or health worker in Nigeria is owed their monthly salary.
The minister made his stance known at the opening of the meeting of the Presidential Committee on Salaries with the leadership of the Joint Health Sector Union, JOHESU in Abuja.
In a statement by the Ministry’s Deputy Director Press and Public Relations, Charles Akpan, the minister claimed that NARD doctors have failed to tell Nigerians that their colleagues who are owed salaries were illegally recruited and were neither captured by the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation nor were their payments provided for by the Budget Office of the Federation.
He, however, said that the money which the Federal Government owed few doctors and other workers was the 2020 COVID-19 allowance, besides the arrears of the consequential adjustment of the National Minimum Wage and skipping allowance which cut across other sectors.
According to him, work was in progress to clear this.
He also blamed the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA and JOHESU for bringing segregation in the negotiation for the new hazard allowance which the Federal Government already budgeted the sum of 37.5 billion naira for.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Health, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, says it is a wrong time for personnel in the health sector to down tool, noting that despite financial constraints, government remains committed to payment of salaries of doctors and health workers.
On his part, the Minister of State for Finance, Budget and Planning, Clement Agba, regretted the expanding budgetary expenditure of government even as revenue continues to dwindle.
In his response, President of JOHESU, Josiah Biobelemonye said his union was the patient dog of the health sector and pressed for the swift tackling of the challenges facing its members, to avoid forcing them to strike.