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FG, resident doctors sign agreement to avert indefinite strike

NAN

19

The Federal Government has signed a Memorandum of Action (MOA) with the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to avert the union’s planned nationwide strike.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, disclosed this while addressing newsmen at the end of a meeting with NARD early Thursday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that NARD had threatened to commence a nationwide strike on April 1, accusing the Federal Government of reneging on agreements reached with the union.

The doctors’ grievances include the non-payment of salaries of between three months to five months to some house officers and the non-recruitment of house officers.

Others are the abolishment of the bench fees for doctors undergoing training in other hospitals, and the non-payment of National Minimum Wage and hazard allowances to doctors.

Addressing newsmen, Ngige said that the deliberations were fruitful and that all the things written in the MoA would be implemented.

“Hopefully,  by tomorrow you will experience the payment as agreed here for the second category of doctors, who are an overflow of the quota of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN).

“By the time the Chairman of the Chief Medical Directors (CMDs) comes up with his final list and harmonies it with that of the MDCN, we would not have issue anymore over this payment or whether some doctors have not been paid,” he said.

Ngige noted that timelines had also been put on other issues raised by the doctors.

He said that both parties would reconvene in one month’s time for reassessment of the given assignments.

“With this MoA, we hope you (NARD executives) get to your members to let them understand better that government has moved proactively to address most of the issues ahead of your coming.

“We are happy that you understand and so I give you assurance that most of the things written here will be done.

“We will assist the Federal Ministry of Health, the Finance Ministry and the Office of Accountant General of the Federation to make sure that they keep their own side of the bargain,’’ the minister said.

President of NARD, Dr. Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, expressed optimism that all the decisions reached, including outstanding issues and grievances would be addressed. (NAN)

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