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FG pays N4.5 billion COVID-19 hazard inducement allowance as striking doctors call off strike

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The minister of Labour, Senator Chris Ngige has said that the federal government’s released N4.5 billion to 31 federal teaching and medical centres across the country is to cover the hazard and inducement allowances for April and May in other to ameliorate the plight of resident doctors across the country who downed tools since Monday over unpaid salaries and allowances.
Mr Ngige disclosed this along with the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, and the Minister of State for Labour, Festus Keyamo. The officials spoke with journalists shortly after they briefed President Muhammadu Buhari on the strike by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).

The resident doctors announced the commencement of a nationwide “indefinite strike” on Monday morning in a communique issued at the end of their ‘virtual extraordinary National Executive Council Meeting’ after 1 14 day automaton which the federal government could not meet up with.The president of National Association of Resident Doctors Aliyu Sokomba, said doctors downed tools over unpaid salaries, non-payment of hazard allowance, and a dearth of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in hospitals among several other reasons. He said the association explored several other options before arriving at their decision.
The government had threatened to invoke the ‘no work no pay rule’ on the striking doctors on Tuesday after a meeting it had with the doctors ended in disagreement. Health minister Osagie Ehanire directed all medical directors in all public hospitals across the country to open a register by 7 a.m. from Wednesday and record ‘those who come to work and those who fail to come to work’. But the doctors called the bluff of the government’s threat. The NARD president, described the threat as “empty and the biggest joke of the century”, adding that the doctors are not intimidated and will go on with the strike until their demands are met.

MR-CHRIS-NGIGE

During Friday’s briefing with journalists, Mr Ngige, who had claimed that the government has already started paying the doctors treating COVID-19 patients the hazard allowance, said the payment of the N4.5 billing was made “just this morning”.
“Just this morning, before we went to see Mr President, the Ministry of Finance reported that as at this morning, 3 a.m., they have paid the allowances for hazard and inducement to 31 teaching and Federal Medical Centres and specialist 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.

Health workers, being the first respondents to patients have continued to be at risk of exposure to COVID-19 virus. Although health workers have been advised to use full PPE before attending to patients, many do not have access to this equipment. As of June 2, about 812 health workers had tested positive for COVID-19 in Nigeria

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