The Federal Government has directed immediate payment of salary arrears of over 450 medical doctors, as part of steps to end the on-going strike that has paralysed many hospitals in the country.
Those affected are mostly House Officers, who are being owed for three months.
Also, government said it has started discussing with the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and other health associations on the review of the Hazard Allowance for all workers in the sector.
It acknowledge N5,000 Hazard Allowance per head as paltry and pledged to review it.
The government appealed to doctors to abide by their Hippocratic Oath by calling off the strike in the interest of Nigerians.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige made the disclosures in an exclusive interview with newsmen.
He said, “Those people are not being owed, their money is there. The issue is about migration from GIFMIS to IPPIS. It was like the case of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
“But, their list has been compiled and submitted on Saturday for Accountant-General of the Federation’s office to start payment of the backlog of three months for the two groups. If you are employed in January up to March and you have not been paid, is it not three months?
“If you terminated your payment in GIFMIS in October up to December, is it not three months? We are going to pay them.
“At the conciliation, we gave everybody waiver over the payroll. So, it is in the agreement we signed, the Memorandum of Action, that they are saying they don’t want or that their is president is saying he does not want. He didn’t know because he didn’t participate in the meeting.
“So, I expect that the payment to start any moment from Monday. IPPIS office assured me that they will start paying, if they get the full list. That is the major one.”
On Hazard Allowance, he said the government had started talks with NMA and others since February.
According to him, “That issue about hazard allowance, we started that proactively in February. I started that with the Remuneration Committee of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) at the instance of the NMA President who solicited for me to see them.
“With my officials from Employment and Wages Department, we started some discussion We have also held some preliminary discussions with some other groups in the health sector. This is a business or work in progress.
“For anybody to say that we have not started discussing, it is a lie. But, it is not a business we can do with only doctors. We have discussed it with lab technologists, medical workers union, association of radiologists, pharmacists and all that work in the hospital environment. Everybody that works in hospital environment as at today takes hazard allowance
“The hazard allowance they are taking today is very paltry, it is N5,000. That was why the Federal Government decided to shelve it and paid them Special COVID Hazard allowance last year for the months of April, May and June. And it cost the government N32billion.” he added.