Sen. (Dr.) Chris Ngige, Honourable Minister for Labour and Employment

Government applauds NARD for suspending strike, offers N47bn hazard allowance

*Sen. (Dr.) Chris Ngige, Honourable Minister for Labour and Employment, has commended the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) on suspending their month-long strike, assuring stakeholders all outstanding labour issues are being addressed

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The Federal Government of Nigeria has commended the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) for suspending its nationwide strike that had lasted for 63 days.

Sen. (Dr.) Chris Ngige, Honourable Minister for Labour and Employment, gave the commendation when he received the leadership of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), who led NARD’s Executive members on a visit to his office Wednesday, October 6, 2021, in Abuja, FCT.

Agency report indicates the Minister extolled the new leadership of NARD, led by Dr. Godiya Ishaya, for urging its members to return to work.

Sen. Ngige also disclosed the Federal Government had increased the aggregate money in the 2022 Budget for hazard allowance from N40billion to N47billion annually.

The latest strike, he noted, would not have degenerated to the point it got to, if the former NARD leadership had given their members the correct information.

Ngige also stated that the Federal Government did not owe any doctor up till August 2, when NARD embarked on the national strike in Nigeria.

But the Minister said there were contentions about allowances, such as the Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF) and some doctors who were not paid the Special COVID-19 allowances.

He, however, assured that all the contentious issues were being addressed, including the payment of Medical Residency Training Fund and Special COVID-19 allowances for those omitted.

The Minister said: “The previous NARD leadership hoarded information from your members. Instead, things wouldn’t have degenerated.

“There is no need being pugilistic. We know that we have opposition to our government. It doesn’t mean that if we are doing something right, we should not be praised.

“If the former NARD leadership were not playing politics, they should have reported well to their members, especially after the intervention of the Elders Forum of which the President and Secretary-General of NARD were members.”

He further explained: “You are lucky to have me, a medical doctor and health system manager here as the Minister of Labour and Employment. So, when the matter came, the issues are clear to me.

“But, when you bring advice to both parties on how things should be done and it is thrown away completely, you leave us with no other option than to do what the law says that we should be doing.

“That was why I sent this matter to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN).”

Ngige clarified the issue of the circular removing NYSC doctors and house officers from the scheme of service was the decision of the National Council on Establishments, chaired by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.

On migration of some medical doctors on the GFMIS platform, the Minister also stated that there were things the government could not do immediately, but needed time to accomplish.

He, therefore, applauded the new leadership of NARD for being amenable to dialogue.

The information has shown that they have been traversing offices for the welfare of their members, which their predecessors lacked the patience to do.

Earlier, Dr. Godiya Ishaya, NARD President; and Dr Philip Ekpe, Secretary-General of the NMA, in their separate remarks had thanked Ngige for his reconciliatory efforts that led to the resolution of the strike.

They appealed to Ngige to fast-track the full implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding they entered into with the Federal Government.

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