HomeHealthNARD faults FG's health workers’ hazard allowance increase, says it's a joke

NARD faults FG’s health workers’ hazard allowance increase, says it’s a joke

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Lara Adejoro

The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors has faulted the Federal Government offer on the increment of hazard allowance for health workers in the country, describing it as a joke.

According to the association, the increment is nothing compared to the hazard faced by health workers in the country.

The government had offered to increase the hazard allowance of N5000 for all health workers in its health establishments in the country by 350 percent and 600 percent for junior and senior workers respectively.

The Federal Government also agreed to increase the retirement age of doctors and other health workers from 60 to 65 years and 70 years for Consultants.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, announced these on Tuesday night after a meeting between the Federal Government and representatives of all the professional bodies and unions in the health sector.

A statement issued on Wednesday by the Deputy Director (Press and Public Relations) in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Charles Akpan, said the meeting which was held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa Abuja, deliberated on the issue of hazard allowance and retirement age for health workers in government health establishments.

Ngige told Journalists that the government has moved up from the N5000 monthly hazard allowance paid to all health workers in Nigeria, offering 350 percent and 600 percent increments for junior workers and senior workers respectively.

According to him, the government representatives led by the Minister of State for Budget and Planning gave a counter-offer to the earlier submissions made by the Nigerian Medical Association and affiliate associations and the Joint Health Sector Unions.

He said, “The government side gave them that offer based on the reality that we have on ground, that the economy is not doing very well and the capital component of the budget is actually being funded on borrowing. The earnings of the government have also drastically gone down.

“So, they are going back to their people with the government offer and they asked for two weeks adjournment to enable them to conclude consultation with their members and report back to us.”

While Ngige said the offer is reasonable, the resident doctors said it is a joke.

Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise, President of NARD, Dr. Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi said the hazard allowance increase amounts to only N15,000 and N22,000 respectively.

“What does the percentage increase amount to? The increase amounts to only N15,000 and 22,000. So, does that amount to the hardship allowance of N1.2 million or the newspaper allowance of N1.2 million. So, we should be dancing to that increase?” he queried.

Continuing, he said “The increase is a big joke, it is a joke to the country. You cannot pay for the hazard the health workers go through but you keep diverting money to where it is not needed,” he said.

Okhuaihesuyi said the hazard allowance is meant to be a minimum of 50 percent of the basic salary of the health worker.

“The government should be reasonable; the increase should be at least be 50 percent of the basic salary.

“They keep saying there is no money in the country but it’s quite sad that we don’t know where our priorities lie and they are diverting money to places where the money is not needed.

“And that is why you cannot stop brain drain in the country because everyone wants to go to where they can have free access to health and where they can go to the hospital and the insurance takes care of their bills, and where there is security.

“It’s absurd that this is the increase we get despite the hazard we face as health workers,” he said.

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