In response to the demands of the striking resident doctors, the Federal Government has released N4.5 billion to 31 federal teaching hospitals and medical centres across the country.
The payment covers hazard and inducement allowances for the doctors for April and May.
With this intervention, the government expressed the hope that the strike embarked upon by the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria will soon be called off.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, disclosed this to State House correspondents in company of the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire and the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo.
The ministers had briefed President Muhammadu Buhari on the strike by the resident doctors.
Persecondnews recalls that NARD had on June 14 directed its members to down tools over shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and poor remuneration for members as they battle the raging Coronavirus pandemic.
Ngige said: “Just this morning, before we went to see Mr President, the Ministry of Finance reported that as at this morning, 3am, they have paid the allowances for hazard and inducement to 31 teaching and federal medical centres and specialist hospitals of the federal government service.
“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.
“Again, it is important to report to you that in consonance with what he’s saying, we have arranged a meeting for them to speak to the Nigerian Governors’ Forum because you don’t mix apples and oranges.
“The issue of health is on the concurrent list, so the federal government will do its own and the state government will be expected to do their own. Some of their grievances border on what they feel the state governments have not done.”
Ehanire, on his part, said: “We hope that there is a solution in sight; what we have done is to brief the President of the country, who as we all know has the final responsibility for everything that goes on in government.
“Those of us who are Ministers administer our ministries and have to report to him periodically.
“In this particular case, it has been important to report to him how things have been because of the strike action of resident doctors. We have to report to him the implications and the possible consequences of such a strike action.”
According to the health minister, the President listened to them carefully and he is not happy that it has come this way.
“We all hope that it would be resolved after all the demands that were made have been resolved.
“The Minister of Labour have listed those demands and how all of them have been fulfilled except those of them which are not within our ambit, ” Ehanire told reporters.