THE Federal Government has released N4.5 billion to 31 Federal Teaching Hospitals and Medical Centres in the country and set aside N9 billion for payment of insurance claims, raising hopes that the strike by doctors will soon end.
Briefing journalists after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Minister of Labour and Employment Minister, Dr Chris Ngige, said that the N4.5 bn covered hazard and inducement allowances for April and May while payment for June would follow.
He explained that the payment was in fulfillment of part of the demands of the striking members of National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria.
The minister is optimistic that the strike would be called off as the Federal Government had substantially met parts of their demands.
He disclosed that at the meeting with the President, “the Ministry of Finance reported that it has paid the allowances for hazard and inducement to 31 Teaching Hospitals, Federal Medical Centres and Specialist Hospitals.”
Ngige explained that because health is on the concurrent list, and the Federal Government and the state governments are both expected to do their bit, “we have arranged a meeting for them to speak to the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).
“Some of their grievances border on what they feel the state governments have not done.”
Ngige further explained that “N9 billion has been spent by the Federal Government to pay for insurance not only for health workers this time but every worker in the public service of the federation.
“This is to enable any other health worker who loses his live as a result of the COVID-19 to benefit from the scheme as the family can make claims from the Group Life Insurance as enshrined in the Pension Acts.”
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire said that with the Federal Government doing so much, ”we hope that there is a solution in sight. What we have done is to brief the President.
“We have to report to him the implications and the possible consequences of the strike action.
“He is not happy that it has come this way and we all hope that it would be resolved after all the demands that were made have been resolved.