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Opinion

BREAKING NEWS: Resident doctors reject 25% salary increase by FG, say strike goes on

The National Executive Council, NEC, of the National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, on Saturday, rejected the 25 per cent increment in the basic salary of doctors as well as the accoutrement allowance.

They insisted that their earlier demand is for full restoration of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure to its right value as at the time of the approval of the structure in 2009.

The doctors also maintained that there was no going back on the ongoing nationwide total and indefinite strike until reasonable progress is made by the government to address their demands as contained in their ultimatum issued to the federal government on July 5.

Declaring this position in a communique jointly signed by the President, Dr Orji Emeka Innocent, Secretary-General, Dr. Chikezie Kelechi, and Publicity & Social Secretary, Dr Uma Musa, the striking doctors described the 25 per cent as a ‘paltry’ and said the strike continues.

The communique issued at the end of its NEC meeting in Lagos, tagged: “LasGIDI 2023”, with the theme: “Bullying in Medical Practice: a matter of Perspective?”, demanded the immediate release of the circular on the One-for-One policy for the replacement of exited clinical workers for implementation, as they cannot continue to watch their members lose their lives and break down under the weight of work overload occasioned by massive depletion of clinical staff in the hospitals on account of brain drain.

They observed that the 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF) has not been paid even after several promises made by the government.

The communique further states: “After critical consideration, NEC resolved as: to demand the payment of all salaries and arrears including the salary arrears of 2014-2016, arrears of hazard allowance, arrears of consequential adjustment of the minimum wage, and promotion arrears to our deserving members without further delay;

“To call on the MDCN to reverse herself on the downgrading of the membership certificate as this is an ill wind that blows no one good, adding that continuing on this path would only reduce the value placed on the postgraduate medical training in Nigeria;

“To call on the governors of Abia, Kaduna, and Enugu states as well as other states where our members’ welfare is neglected, to as a matter of urgency look into these challenges to resolve them amicably;

“For the avoidance of doubt, these governors are expected to among others, clear all salary backlogs, pay promotion arrears, adopt/review the CONMESS salary structure, review the hazard allowance, and domesticate the medical residency training act as well as pay the MRTF using the new circular issued by NSIWC in January 2023 (as was done by their counterparts in Delta, Benue Ogun and Osun states);

“To vehemently reject the casualization of doctors under any guise in all tertiary health institutions in Nigeria, warning that this could be a subject of industrial action shortly if not nipped in the bud now;

“To call for the immediate unconditional release of our trainer, Prof. Ekanem Philip-Ephraim of UCTH Calaber, and to call on the government to beef up security in the country to forestall such occurrences;

“To persuade the federal government to consider ways of placating Nigerians who have to grapple daily with the burden of living in the post-subsidy era, while calling on the government to ensure that savings from the subsidy removal would be prudently utilized for the common good.”

They further appealed to the Federal and state governments to urgently resolve these demands to forestall the further escalation of the ongoing industrial disharmony in the health sector nationwide.

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