Doctors’ Strike: Nigerian govt ‘releases N4.5 billion to federal hospitals’

The Federal Government on Friday said it has released N4.5 billion to 31 federal teaching and medical centres across the country.

The intervention fund came few days after resident doctors began an “indefinite strike.”

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, on Friday said that the fund was for hazard and inducement for April and May allowances.

He said the government expected the doctors to suspend the industrial action soon.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, made this disclosure while briefing State House Correspondents, in the company of the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, and the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, after they met President Muhammadu Buhari, on the strike by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).

The doctors had on Sunday instructed its members to stop work over shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and poor remuneration for members as they battle the raging coronavirus pandemic.

“Just this morning, before we went to see Mr President, the Ministry of Finance reported that as at this morning, 3 am, they have paid the allowances for hazard and inducement to 31 teaching and Federal Medical Centres and specialist hospitals of the federal government service and they have expended close to N4.5 billion in the payment because we are paying them the arrears of April and May. The payment for June will also be done immediately these ones are sorted out,” Mr Ngige said.

He said there was an arrangement for a meeting between the doctors and the Nigerian Governors’ Forum.

“The issue of health is on the concurrent list, so the federal government will do its own and the state government will be expected to do their own. Some of their grievances border on what they feel the state governments have not done,” he said.

Mr Ehanire, the health minister, said: “We hope that there is a solution in sight; what we have done is to brief the president of the country, who as we all know has the final responsibility for everything that goes on in government. Those of us who are ministers administer our ministries and have to report to him periodically.

“In this particular case, it has been important to report to him how things have been because of the strike action of resident doctors. We have to report to him the implications and the possible consequences of such a strike action.

“He listened to us carefully, of course, he is not happy that it has come this way and we all hope that it would be resolved after all the demands that were made have been resolved.

“The Minister of Labour have listed those demands and how all of them have been fulfilled except those of them which are not within our ambit.”

(PREMIUM TIMES)

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