No Doctor, Health Worker Is Owed Salaries, Says Ngige

Ngige Claims Some States Paying Foreigners Five Times Higher Than Nigerians

The Federal Government has stated that there are no doctors or employees in the health sector being owed their wages.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, made the disclosure on Tuesday at the meeting of the presidential committee on salaries, with the leadership of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) in Abuja.

Ngige stated that the clarification became obligatory so as to address the position of the members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), who are presently on strike over alleged salary irregularities.

“NARD goes about telling Nigerians that government is owing them salaries, and as well not taking the problems in the health sector seriously. But this is not true. It is incorrect,” he said.

“No doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or any other health worker, including the driver, is owed monthly salary. The government pays as and when due.

“The truth is that NARD fails to tell Nigerians that their colleagues who are owed salaries are the ones illegally recruited. Therefore, they were neither captured by the office of the head of service of the federation, nor were their payments provided for by the budget office of the federation.

“Monthly salaries are done as and when due for those legitimately employed by the federal government, but not to those illegally employed or need their appointments regularised and captured in the finances of government for payment.

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“This takes a process which is not accomplished overnight.”

Ngige made reference to the presidential waiver for employment into the critical health and defence ministries in view of the general embargo on employment, he gave assurance that doctors “illegally recruited” would have their appointments regularised in due course.

The minister, however, noted that the federal government has a backlog of 2020 COVID allowances owed to some doctors and other workers, including arrears relating to the adjustment of the national minimum wage and skipping allowance, noting that effort is being made to clear the arrears.

He accused the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and JOHESU of being responsible for the delay in the payment of the COVID allowance, due to the alleged refusal of both organizations to reach an agreement.

“We started joint negotiation to round off discussion and implement new hazard allowance as early as possible so as to stave off the current wolf-crying by doctors,” he said.

“They brought in segregation and couldn’t agree with JOHESU and both now want separate negotiations. Why then blame government and make it an issue to strike for?”

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