In view of the strike action embarked on by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said that house officers had begun to receive payments in federal hospitals and medical centres.
Ngige said this while addressing journalists on Wednesday in Abuja, stating that employees at the office of the Accountant General worked overtime to ensure that payments were made.
The minister also added that the policy of deducting N15,000 from the salaries of house doctors for accommodation had been struck out.
He said, “The House Officers have started receiving their payments in the federal government teaching hospitals and federal medical centres across the federation.
“I spoke with the Accountant General of the Federation(AGF) as well as with two Chief medical directors of teaching hospitals this morning and they confirmed payment to house officers.
“By the close of work today all would have been paid as the officers at the office of the AGF worked even during the public holidays to this effect.
“We have also abolished benching in training as well as stopped the deduction of N15,000 per month from the salaries of house doctors for accommodation.
“We directed the refund of the deductions and the entire money is now paid to the house doctors to negotiate with the local authorities and sort out individual accommodation.
“The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria has also opened her online portal for the recruitment of house officers effective April 1, 2021, in the spirit of the MOA.
“It has also started recruiting and posting house doctors almost immediately, even within the public holidays. All these are items time-lined in the MOA for execution within three to four weeks and that is why we agreed to meet in four weeks to access implementation.
“We have an MOA that is signed by all the affected agencies of government, namely the Federal Ministry of Health, Chairman of the Committee of Chief Medical Directors, chairman of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, Budget Office of the Federation, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, officials of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labour as the conciliating body.”
Insurance Premium For Doctors
Ngige also noted that the Federal Government started a life insurance policy that covered all civil servants by paying a premium of N9.3 billion to 13 insurance firms.
He said, “last year, 2020, the Federal Government took out a Group life Insurance, extended to cover all civil servants by paying a premium of N9.3b to 13 insurance companies to insure the lives of health workers including doctors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“But the truth is that the insurance companies would not pay life compensations for deaths of medical workers unless claims are made.
“Claims forms were circulated to the Teaching Hospitals/ Federal Medical Centers to enable NARD to compile the list of the names of the next of kin of the fallen doctor-heros, with a duly sworn affidavit for onward transmission to the insurance companies to enable payment. NARD and NMA are yet to assist and pressurize these hospitals to make such returns.”