The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has expressed surprise over the news that members of the National Association of Resident Doctors are embarking on a nationwide strike today despite committed efforts to meet their demands.
The Speaker had last Tuesday personally held a meeting of about three hours with the leadership of the resident doctors and the executive arm led by the two ministers manning the Federal Ministry of Health. He had said at the meeting that the leadership of the House would not fold its arms while resident doctors embark on strike at this time of #COVID-19 pandemic.
In his intervention, the Speaker promised that the House would ensure that the hazard allowance was included in the revised 2020 Budget and this was done. In keeping to his promise on residency funding, the Speaker raised the matter during consideration of the budget on Wednesday and the sum of N4 billion was approved by the House from the Service Wide Votes for the commencement of funding of residency programme as provided for by the Medical Residency Training Act.
The Senate concurred with that position on Thursday when it passed its version of the budget. The issue of a template for implementation was also raised by the doctors, and the Speaker directed that an emergency meeting with the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission be held on Monday, June 15. At the meeting, which held at the National Assembly, the Commission promised to produce the template in the next 48 hours. The leadership of NARD was also at the meeting.”
The Speaker also hinted that the House would come up with a law that would not only back the payment of hazard allowance but would also define same for clarity.
Speaker had appealed to NARD to tarry a while as the government works assiduously to meet their entitlements since the revised 2020 budget was passed only last week and all processes for presidential assent and implementation are yet to kick-off in all Ministries, Departments & Agencies including Health.
The Speaker appealed to the doctors to consider the plight of Nigerians & to call off the strike while all resolutions reached at last week’s meeting are implemented one after the other.