Government disburses N4.5bn hazard allowances to health workers

Timothy Choji, Abuja

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Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige

The Nigerian government has so far paid the sum of N4.5 billion to 31 Teaching hospitals and Federal Medical Centres as hazard and inducement allowance for health workers.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige made the disclosure on Friday in an interview with State House Correspondents, after he met with President Muhammadu Buhari in the company of his Health counterpart.

He said: “Just this morning, before we went to see Mr President, the Ministry of Finance reported that as at this morning, 3 am, they have paid the allowances for hazard and inducement to 31 teaching and Federal Medical Centres and special hospitals of the federal government service and they have expended close to N4.5 billion in the payment because we are paying them the arrears of April and May. The payment for June will also be done immediately these ones are sorted out.

“Again, it’s important to report to you that we have arranged a meeting for them to speak to the Nigerian Governors’ Forum because you don’t mix apples and oranges.

“The issue of health is on the concurrent list, so the federal government will do its own and the state government will be expected to do their own. Some of their grievances border on what they feel the state governments have not done.”

Commenting on the on-going strike action of the Nigeria Association of Resident Doctors, the Minister said all demands of the Doctors have been met by the government.

“Recall that NARD had on Sunday instructed its members to down tools over shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and poor remuneration for members as they battle the raging Coronavirus pandemic.

“The demands were six, they also complained about the non-inclusion of residency programme act funding in the budget, the non-payment of hazard and inducement allowance by the federal government, etc.

“We are still in dialogue with them, we have also dealt with the issue of termination of the residency programme of some of their members in the Jos University Teaching Hospital as well as the victimisation of their members by the Chief Medical Director of University of Portharcourt Teaching hospital.

“Overall, the six points they have raised in their matter, as arbitrators and conciliators, we are satisfied that the government side led by their employer, the Ministry of Health has done the needful so it is our hope that they will summon the relevant organs of their association to call off the strike which has brought some hiccups in the health system management this COVID period,” he said.

On the strike by Academic Staff Union of Universities ASUU, the Labour Minister said the issue of enrolment of ASUU members on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System IPPIS was still the bone of contention.

He said so far, about 50 percent of ASUU members have been enrolled into IPPIS.

“So that is where we are now but we are still extending our hand of friendship, that they should come so that we shall apply the same scenario that existed during their migration from Pension Fund Administrator to Nigerian Universities Pension Company NUPENCO, we are waiting for them so that we can resume the talk and so that they can go back to work,” he appealed.

 

Zainab Sa’id

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