By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Abuja
The Federal Government today met with representatives of all the professional bodies and unions in the health sector over the issue of hazard allowance for health workers in government health establishments.
The meeting which held behind closed doors at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa Abuja was convened by the Government in furtherance of the April 2020 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that it signed with the Health Workers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Submissions were brought to the meeting by the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), Pharmaceutical Association of Nigeria (PSN), amongst others.
Addressing journalists after the meeting, Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige said they received proposals from all the unions and associations on hazard allowance and the retirement age for health workers.
According to Ngige, the proposals include block money and percentage of the increment the health workers want on the hazard allowance.
He said, “The health workers have also been intimated with the Government position on their submissions. They agreed to go and modify their proposals and we agreed to go and look at the degree of risk. Not everybody is exposed to the same degree of risk.
“If I am in an infectious ward, my risk is different. If I am in the Intensive Care Union (ICU), my risk is different from the person in the hospital premises and the person in the ward.
“We agreed that everybody should go back and crunch the figures we have with the various proposals. These are the things we are putting on the scale. They are all issues of personnel cost. So, we are going back to Presidential Committee on Salaries.”
Regarding the issue of retirement age, Ngige disclosed that the health workers proposed an increase to 65 years for medical officers and other health workers and 70 years for consultants.
He said the meeting will reconvene in three weeks time for further deliberation.
Also from the Government side at the meeting include the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Enahire, Minister of State for Health, Senator Olurinimbe Mamora, Minister of State for Budget, Clems Agba, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo SAN.
Others are the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Abdulaziz Abdulahi and his Labour and Employment counterpart, Peter Yerima Tarfa, Accountant General of the Federation, Mohammed Idris and the Director-General of Budget Office, Ben Akabueze.