Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige PHOTO:Twitter
There is no moral justification for National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to continue its strike after the Federal Government has met substantial part of their demands, Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige has said.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja on the seven-day old industrial action, Ngige said not only that the Federal Government met the demands of the doctors, it has also demonstrated transparency in the implementation process.
“The house officers have started receiving their payments in the Federal Government teaching hospitals and federal medical centres across the federation.
“I spoke with the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) as well as two chief medical directors of teaching hospitals this (yesterday) morning and they confirmed payment to house officers.
“By the close of work today (yesterday), all would have been paid as the officials at the office of the AGF worked even during the public holidays to this effect,” Ngige said.
The minister argued that though some of the house officers were recruited outside the quota allocated by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), and some recruited between January and March when there was embargo on selective recruitment by teaching hospitals and federal medical centres, amnesty was granted to all to be paid in line with the Memorandum of Action.
“We have also abolished benching in training as well as stopped deduction of N15,000 per month from the salaries of house doctors for accommodation. We directed refund of the deductions and the entire money is now paid to the house doctors to negotiate with the local authorities and sort out individual accommodation.
“The MDCN has also opened its online portal for recruitment of house officers effective April 1, 2021 in the spirit of the MOA. It has also started recruiting and posting house doctors almost immediately, even within the public holidays.
“All these are items time-lined in the MOA for execution within three to four weeks and that is why we agreed to meet in four weeks to access implementation. We have an MOA that is signed by all the affected agencies of government;” he said.