The Federal Government says it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA and the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, geared towards halting the five-day nationwide warning strike.
According to a statement by Director Press, Ministry of Labour Olajide Oshundun, the MOU was signed at the end of a conciliation meeting convened by the Minister, Chris Ngige late on Friday.
The statement says The meeting which lasted for about five hours addressed all the eight issues raised by the striking Resident Doctors
The issues include the non payment of salaries of Doctors by state Governments, Domestication of the reviewed Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF) for the year 2023, the bill at the National Assembly on bonding of Doctors for five years before licensing, the circular on immediate replacement of exited doctors, and immediate payment of the 2023 MRTF.
Others include arrears of Consequential Adjustment on Minimum Wage, Skipping Arrears and the review of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure, CONMESS.
The Labour Ministry says In the MOU, both parties agreed that health is in the Residual List and not the Concurrent
They MOU equally agreed that the states cannot be compelled to domesticate the MRTF and must not pay the same amount being paid by the Federal Government.
The meeting advised NARD to reach out to states that are not paying and negotiate with them, even if the rates are lower than that of the Federal Government MRTF.
On the bill of bonding of Doctors for five years before licensing, sponsored by Lawmaker, Ganiyu Johnson from Lagos State at the National Assembly, they agreed that the Executive Arm of Government cannot interfere with it, being a private member’s bill and not an executive bill.
The meeting therefore resolved to await the public hearing for the bill, where the Doctors will deal with the bill through the NMA, to ensure it does not see the light of the day.
On the replacement of exited Doctors, the meeting noted that the recommendations of the Federal Ministry of Health Brain Drain Committee have been forwarded to the office of Head of the Civil Service of the Federation for further action.
The Office of Head of service was directed to engage all stakeholders by Wednesday, May 24, 2023 on the matter to ensure the approval of the implementation plan on or before June 5, 2023, for transmission to teaching hospitals and federal medical centres for implementation.
The meeting agreed that the fund for the payment of the 2023 MRTF has been captured in the 2023 Appropriation and payment would begin when the operation of the 2023 Budget begins.
On the issue of Doctors omitted in the payment of Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustment, the meeting resolved that NARD should re-present the list on Monday, May 22, 2023 to the ministry of health, with annexes of the old submission and same copied to the office of Minister of Labour and Employment.
Following information that the matter of skipping arrears is pending in court, the Minister of Labour asked the Minister of Health to produce evidence to him for noting and necessary action.
With respect to CONMESS, the meeting resolved that the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, NSIWC, should adopt the percentage used for the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU and other university unions, which would include rise in allowances, while relativity of the increase would be maintained when other consolidated scales are considered.
It was agreed that the proposal would be presented to the Presidential Committee on Salaries in their next valedictory meeting for final action, to enable NSIWC issue the relevant circular seven days after the PCS meeting.
In conclusion, the meeting agreed that NARD officers are to present the outcome of the MOU to their members in an emergency meeting within 48 hours with a view to suspending the strike they embarked on last Wednesday, May 17, 2023.
Signatories to the MOU on the government side are Dr C.M. Yaya Kolade, of NSIWC, Dr. Salma Ibrahim-Anas, the Director of Hospital Services, Federal Ministry of Health, Mahmuda Mamman, Permanent Secretary of Fedetal ministry of health and Okokon Udo, the Permanent Secretary, Service Policies and Strategies Office the Head of civil service of the federation
The President of NMA, Uche Ojinmah and his counterpart of NARD, Emeka Orji signed on behalf of the Doctors.