Strike: Resident Doctors Are Spreading Lies, FG Owes No Health Worker – Ngige
Every employee in the health sector entitled to any form of salary has been paid his/her full entitlement the federal government has claimed.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige made the submission on Tuesday, saying only those that are illegally recruited have not gotten paid because they have no record with the federal government.
He further accused the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) of not telling members of the public the whole truth about government activities in the health sector but painting themselves as saints to justify their strike action.
Ngige said this in Abuja during the meeting of the presidential committee on salaries, with the leadership of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU).
According to him, the striking doctors are claiming the government has not paid some of their members their entitlements and there are irregularities in some payments but all those recognized by the government have been settled.
He said the allegation by NARD that the government is not serious about tackling the challenges in the health sector is not true and unpatriotic as there is no one-size solution to all the problems.
“NARD goes about telling Nigerians that government is owing them salaries, and as well not taking the problems in the health sector seriously. But this is not true. It is incorrect,” he said.
“No doctor, nurse, pharmacist or any other health worker, including the driver, is owed monthly salary. Government pays as and when due.
“The truth is that NARD fails to tell Nigerians that their colleagues who are owed salaries are the ones illegally recruited. Therefore, they were neither captured by the office of the head of service of the federation, nor were their payments provided for by the budget office of the federation.
“Monthly salaries are done as and when due for those legitimately employed by the federal government, but not to those illegally employed or need their appointments regularised and captured in the finances of government for payment.
“This takes a process which is not accomplished overnight.”
The Minister added that those who were employed under the presidential waiver for employment into the critical health and defence ministries will have their employment regularized at the right time.
Ngige observed that issues relating to the payment of 2020 COVID-19 allowance to doctors and health workers is receiving due attention and will soon be completely sorted.
He laid the blame for the elongated process at the feet of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and JOHESU saying both organizations for selfish reasons wanted separate negotiations instead of joint negotiations started by the government.
“We started joint negotiation to round off discussion and implement new hazard allowance as early as possible so as to stave off the current wolf-crying by doctors.”
“They brought in segregation and couldn’t agree with JOHESU and both now want separate negotiations. Why then blame government and make it an issue to strike for?” he queried