By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—THE Federal Government has approved additional N8 billion to be released immediately for the payment of special/hazard allowances to resident doctors.
The Federal Government also set two weeks timeline for the payment of the N4 billion Medical Residency Training for 2020 to striking resident doctors.
Also, the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, has been given the task to effect the quick payment of the money to the doctors.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government had appropriated N20 billion in the 2020 COVID-19 budget for the hazard allowances and about N19 billion had been so far spent.
This is as the striking resident doctors and the Federal Government last night reached an agreement on the ongoing nationwide strike to be called off.
The President of NARD, Aliyu Sokomba, stated that the association will meet with its National Executive Council within the next 24 hours to decide its next decision.
NARD at the end of the prolonged meeting promised to consult all its organs on Thursday for the possible call of the strike.
The MoU was signed by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige; Minister of State, Festus Keyamo(SAN); Minister of State for Health, Dr. A. O. Mamora; President of NARD, Dr. Bilqis Muhammad; Secretary, Dr. Sokomba Aliyu; Secretary-General of NMA, Dr. Ekpe Philips Uche; Accountant-General of Federation, Ahmed Idris; Permanent Secretary, Labour & Employment, A.M. Abdullah, and his counterpart, Ministry of Health, Dr. Yerima P. Tarfa.
Speaking, NARD President, Sokomba stated: “The meeting was successful. A lot of agreements were reached with a timeline. So we are hoping that all of that will end the concerns that we have.
“Following this extensive deliberation, we shall be convoking a meeting immediately and we shall discuss and present the update from this meeting to our members with a view of reviewing the position of our members on this industrial action and we hope to do that as soon as possible.”
The association had made some demands such as the provision of group life insurance for doctors and other health care workers and payment of death-in-service benefit to next of kin/beneficiaries.
Others were the universal implementation of the Medical Residency Training Act, immediate review of the Hazard Allowance of health care workers and payment of the Covid-19 Inducement Allowance as agreed during the stakeholders’ meeting;
Immediate release of funds for Medical Residency Training for 2020 as captured in the revised Appropriation Bill, payment of allowed arrears of the Consequential Adjustment of the National Minimum Wage to her members, and implementation of such in states tertiary health institutions.
“It was recalled that NARD had been assigned the responsibility to submit a list from the defaulting hospitals to the Federal Ministry of Health for onward transmission to the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.