The federal government has criticized the rejection by the National Association of Resident Physicians (NARD) of the Memorandum of Action (MoA) signed on March 31, despite the association’s demands being met.
Labor and Employment Minister Senator Chris Ngige said this in a statement by Charles Akpan, deputy director of press and public relations at the ministry, Saturday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the medical residents threatened to start the strike on April 1, alleging that the federal government had reneged on the agreements reached with the doctors.
The agitations of the aggrieved doctors include the non-payment of the salaries of three to five months of some domestic agents and the failure to recruit domestic agents.
Others are the removal of application fees for doctors in training at other hospitals, non-payment of the national minimum wage and risk allowances.
Ngige said the government was steadfast in the deal reached with aggrieved resident doctors by NARD chairman Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesu.
Ngige said the federal government has largely responded to NARD’s requests.
He explained that some of NARD’s requests had been made in error, as some of the issues were already reconciled and fully implemented.
However, he indicated that the outstanding issues that had been raised during the last conciliation were on a one-month implementation period, adding that they were still being worked on.
The minister, however, criticized the NARD chairman’s unilateral repudiation of the MoA, calling it an unknown in the labor negotiations.
“He did not participate in most of the discussions last Wednesday because he fell ill not quite after the meeting started and had to apologize.
He gave the floor to his deputy, the secretary general and other officials of the association, who fully participated. We spent seven hours and by the time we put our signatures on the newspapers it was eight.
“Disavowing the duly negotiated memorandum of understanding is unknown to the workers. The two negotiating parties signed the memorandum of understanding. Four government officials and three from the NARD signed the document.
The president who was not at the meeting but fully represented by MPs went to NARD’s NEC and disowned the paper because it was signed by his deputy and secretary general.
“There is what is called the transmission of power. As president, he fell ill and his deputies continued the meeting. It’s allowed, ”he said.
Ngige said the NARD was wrong to impose a fait accompli on the federal government while negotiations were underway.
According to him, when a trade dispute has been apprehended, neither party imposes on the other a fait accompli.
“We signed a memorandum which says that the NARD will come back to its members to inform them about what has been agreed, the deadlines imposed on them, so as not to disrupt the industrial environment of the health sector.
“We also agreed to meet after four weeks,” the minister said.
The minister added that the four weeks had been given to give enough time to implement the issues in the schedule, some of which would take three weeks, before meeting again.
He further expressed his disappointment that NARD took a detour and mobilized members to take action on Easter Day, as Christians observed the holiest week on their universal calendar.
He dismissed as false the claim that doctors at public health facilities across the country were uninsured.
On that note, he said the federal government spent 13.3 billion naira in 2020, on group life insurance, not only for doctors and healthcare workers, but also for public service workers and federal public.
He said the reason for the composite exercise was to end a situation where government departments and agencies were working in silos to pay worker death benefits and with lapses in some cases.
“This N13.3b was paid to thirteen insurance companies and brokerage firms to administer.
“And this is not the first time that NARD and teaching hospitals have been told to send names and make claims for members who have lost their lives.
“It’s an insurance that lasts for one year and is still in effect until March which has just ended and even then the new payment is now being processed, so it becomes a continuous thing” , did he declare.
The Minister added that NARD was again reminded of the development when signing an MoA on March 31, 2012 to file complaints through the Ministry of Health with the head of the Federation.
This, he said, was the sole basis for paying the bonus to beneficiaries.
He added that the proceedings affected all of the federal government employee’s health workers, noting that the federal government had ramped up insurance coverage last year in anticipation of accidents linked to the COVID-19 outbreak.
He said organizing for the welfare of workers should not be just for the purpose of strike action, but rather go the extra mile to exploit all the opportunities offered by the government for the welfare of the workforce. artwork.
“So, NARD should make claims for the seventeen of its members that it has confirmed dead as a result of COVID-19.
“They have the right to make a complaint on behalf of their members. The insurance company only needs to verify the claims and pay.
“They can also make a claim under the Employees Compensation Act for any of their members who have suffered an injury in the course of their work or a danger in the course of their work,” a- he declared.
Speaking on the medical residency program, which is the main reason for NARD’s new action, the minister said the program has been running smoothly since its inception in 2019.
He said the House of Representatives needed to make additional appropriation to accommodate the 2020 COVID-19 budget and funds, fully released by the federal finance ministry.
He therefore urged doctors to respect the Hippocratic Oath which makes the patient’s well-being the cardinal. (NOPE)
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