In a bid to end the indefinite strike of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), the Federal Government will commence the implementation of its Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) on Monday.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige made this known in Abuja while making an opening remarks at the continuation of an all-stakeholder meeting he summoned at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari, aimed at resolving the doctors strike. The meeting had earlier started at about 2pm on Friday and adjourned in the early hours of Saturday before reconvening in the afternoon.
Ngige who addressed journalists before the meeting went into closed door session, said both parties had reached agreements the previous night on all the 12 disputed issues, adding that implementation would start from the next working day (Monday).
Regarding the issue of non-payment of some house officers, the Minister said NARD is expected to submit the list of the affected 114 officers for further verification and when confirmed that they are genuine, and their IPPIS particulars and BVN are in order, they would be paid in September with the outstanding arrears.
He said an agreement was reached on the Residency Training Fund outstanding for 2020 and 2021, after the Budget Office had explained that N617, 429, 121 was the outstanding to be paid in the 2020.
“There are reconciliations to be done here because the 2020 was done with some errors. Some people who are not supposed to benefit from the fund got money and because of that, the number of genuine people that were not paid also came to that quantum of persons.
“So, reconciliation is being done and some monies are being returned. We have given a timeline for this reconciliation to be done.
“And for the 2021, the money approved by Government is N4.802B. This money like I said earlier was contained in the 2021 Supplementary Budget, which the President signed on the eve of his departure to UK for the meeting and medical check-up.
“So, between that time and now, it became a money law. The funds have now been sourced and it has gotten from the CBN to the Budget Office where we expect it to be processed in one week as undertaken by the Government side.”
Ngige added that the meeting agreed that by next Friday, August 27, residents in institutions would have started getting their money, with each receiving about N542, 000.
He noted that the issue of consequential adjustment on National Minimum wage cuts across the health and educational sectors, which were both affected by the projection of N160B done in 2019, but which fell short of the people that were to benefit from this.
“The meeting agreed that we need to let this matter. Therefore, the Budget Office of the Federation should start from the 2021 service vote to start paying. And if we have any leftovers, we roll it into the 2022.”
“Coming to hazard allowance, everybody agreed that the discussion is still ongoing and therefore government wants to finish it up. We agreed with NMA position to us that they don’t want to discuss holistically anymore as an association and that they have their own peculiarities that are not same with other health workers.
Ngige said the meeting equally noted that the non-payment of skipping allowance cuts across the entire health sector and therefore agreed that it was going to be handled holistically, while awaiting the court judgment on the matter.