The Federal Government has again appealed to the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to call off its strike as it has lost moral and legal grounds to continue its seven days old action.
Speaking to newsmen in Abuja, yesterday, Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said the Federal Government has not only substantially met the seven-point demand by NARD, it has also demonstrated transparency in their implementation.
He said: “The house officers have started receiving their payments in the Federal Government teaching hospitals and Federal Medical Centres (FMC) across the federation. I spoke with the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) as well as with two chief medical directors of teaching hospitals this morning and they confirmed payment to house officers.
“By the close of work today, all would have been paid as the officers at the office of the AGF worked even during the public holidays to this effect.”
According to the minister, even though some of these house officers were recruited outside the quota allocated by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria and some recruited between January and March when there was an embargo on selective recruitment by teaching hospitals and FMCs, amnesty was granted to all to be paid in line with the Memorandum of Action (MoA).
“We have also abolished benching in training as well as stopped the deduction of N15,000 per month from the salaries of house doctors for accommodation. We directed the 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 Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria has also opened its online portal for the recruitment of house officers effective April 1 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 the affected agencies of government, namely the Federal Ministry of Health, chairman of the Committee of Chief Medical Directors, chairman of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, Budget Office of the Federation, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, officials of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labour as the conciliating body.