The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, on Monday, September 7 2020, in a statement asked the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), to end the ongoing strike which they had kick-started.
According to Ngige, in his statement, the resident doctors should embrace dialogue to resolve their outstanding issues with the Federal Government.
The doctors had earlier issued a nationwide strike ultimatum to press on eight demands centred on a pay rise, adequate facilities, and better welfare packages.
However, the Minister, while speaking on the efforts by the Federal Government, maintained that six of the demands have already been addressed.
He said, “Recall that most of the issues listed in the demands are issues that have been under Conciliation since May 2020 that resulted in their strike in June 2019″.
“The NARD leadership in three conciliatory meetings with the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) leadership in attendance can attest that out of the eight (8) demands listed after their Bauchi NEC meeting, the Federal Government via the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) and Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (FMoFB&NP) already addressed about six of the demands comprehensively and satisfactorily”.
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Ngige stressed that despite the economic challenges facing the country, and a revenue shortfall, the government has been able to spend N20 billion on health workers between April and June this year.
Similarly, he said that the Federal Government also appropriated the sum of N4 billion from the Special Intervention COVID-19 N500 billion 2020 Appropriation, for funding of Medical Residency Training and with intent to do the same in the ongoing 2021 Budget to be submitted to NASS for consideration. He added that the N4 billion has been processed for payment.
He also added that the life insurance covers both health professionals and workers, and all federal civil servants and public servants in federal organisations.
Meanwhile, the Minister fixed Wednesday, September 9, 2020 to reconvene the ongoing conciliation meeting between NARD, the Federal Ministry of Health, and the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning.