Doctors on strike, government brokerage deal


Aug.21 (THEWILL) – The National Association of Resident Physicians (NARD) reached an agreement with the federal government on Saturday on its ongoing strike.

In closing the deal, the federal government agreed to pay 4.8 billion naira into the Resident Training Fund over the next seven days.

He also agreed to clear the arrears of the consecutive adjustment of the national minimum wage from April, the date of the signing of the bill by President Muhammadu Buhari, in December 2019.

The government, through the federal health ministry, also said it had forwarded a list of 38 hospitals to the budget office for inclusion in the department-wide vote.

A memorandum of action is expected to be signed by all parties involved in the discussion today (Saturday).

The truce was negotiated following the intervention of the management of the Nigerian Medical Association led by Professor Innocent Uja.

At Friday’s renewed meeting, all 12-point consolidated requests from NARD, the Association of Medical and Dental Consultants of Nigeria (MDCAN) and other NMA affiliates were resolved.

Labor and Employment Minister Senator Chris Ngige said the government had resumed talks with the striking doctors at the behest of President Buhari.

In a statement on Saturday morning by the deputy director of press and public relations at the Federal Ministry of Labor and Employment, Charles Akpan, Ngige said the president ordered him to avoid all technical details and resume conciliation, especially in the context of the alternative. dispute resolution window, provided by the National Labor Court, where the matter was submitted under the instrument of Article 17 of the Trade Disputes Act.

He said: “The National Labor Court, in its wisdom, advised NARD to continue speaking with its employers. We are therefore drawing on this widow of alternative dispute resolution to improve this already bad situation. “

Ngige congratulated Ujah for taking on his role as the leader of all doctors in Nigeria, saying all affiliated medical associations report to the NMA.

The minister said, “When you talk to children and they don’t listen well, you talk to their parents. The permanent agreement that every negotiation by the affiliated associations must be carried out by the AMN has not been respected in the recent past. I therefore congratulate Ujah for having assumed his role of father of all doctors. I want you to play this role effectively and efficiently ”.

He insisted that the current administration has invested more in the health sector and dismissed innuendos that the federal government’s non-compliance with the agreements was at the root of the relentless doctors’ strike.

Minister of State for Health Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora has urged medics to end their strike in the interests of the nation as the government tackles their demands.

NMA chairman Professor Uja said the strike was preventable and criticized some government officials for not playing their part.

He said, “As doctors, we are trained to prevent disease, cure disease and promote health, but not to strike,” and regretted that circumstances had forced doctors to do otherwise.

He commended Senator Ngige for making extra efforts to ensure that officials from ministries and agencies concerned with responding to doctors’ requests are on their toes.

Uja said: “At the meeting we had on Wednesday, before us, he called the relevant officers, asking them what you did about it, what did you do about it, what did you do? done about it? He is doing his own and also suing others to make sure progress is made, ”Uja said, adding that there was no misunderstanding between him and the minister as falsely reported in a section of the media.

“Behind closed doors, the meeting addressed and resolved all 12-point issues such as payment of interns where the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria has filed evidence showing 2,800 doctors have been paid and efforts underway to sort out the 144 outstanding; the N4.8B residency training fund that the budget office provided would be paid in 7 days.

“The arrears of the consecutive adjustment of the national minimum wage which the meeting agreed, affects other sectors, but more attention must be paid to the clearance of that from April to December 2019 which presents no ambiguity. The Health Ministry also revealed that as of August 3, 2021, a list of 38 hospitals had been forwarded to the budget office for inclusion in the department-wide vote.

“The meeting also addressed the issue of locum / emergency physicians and the migration to IPPIS, facility fees and risk pay which it believes should be off the negotiating table since the deadlock created by the disagreement between the NMA and JOHESU was responsible for the delay, as the federal government has already drawn N37.5B for it.

Also visited was the decision of the National Settlement Council, implemented by the circular from the Office of the Federation Chief of Service that excluded interns and NYSC physicians from the service regime. There was also talk of skipping what is a consequent grade alignment as well as the non-payment of three months of Covid-19 allowance to some doctors in 2020, and the migration from MDCAN to CONUAS, among others.

“The meeting was adjourned to 10 am this morning, Saturday August 21, 2021 to streamline the agreement reached on all issues, draft and sign the memorandum of understanding to end the three-week NARD strike.”

The meeting took place in the presence of the Permanent Secretaries of the Ministry of Labor and Employment, Dr Peter Tarfa, Health, Mamman Mamuda, Permanent Secretary, Welfare Service, Office of the Head of Service, Ngozi Onwudiwe, Director General of Budget Office, Ben Akabueze, President of the National Commission for Wages, Incomes and Salaries, Ekpo Nta, representative of the Minister of State, Finance, Budget and Planning, representatives of the Office of the General Accountant of the Federation, leaders of NMA, NARD, MDCAN among others.


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