Medical practitioners under the aegis of the Nigerian Association of Resident practitioners, NARD, have given the Federal Government a two-week deadline to resolve all of its demands.
The doctors are demanding an immediate 200 per cent increment in the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure, CONMESS, withdrawal and jettisoning of the Bill by Honourable Ganiyu Johnson, payment of the 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund, MRTF, the commencement of payment of all salary arrears from 2014, 2015, and 2016, massive recruitment of clinical staff in the hospitals and complete abolishment of bureaucratic limitations to the immediate replacement of doctors who leave the system.
Other demands include; immediate infrastructural development in various hospitals without further delay and 15 per cent budgetary allocation to health subsequently, implementation of CONMESS, Domestication of MRTA, and review of hazard allowance by all the state governments as well as Private Tertiary Health Institutions where any form of Residency Training is done.
The doctors also threatened that they may not guarantee industrial harmony in the health sector nationwide should the Federal government fail to meet their demands by 13th
May 2023, also demanded immediate commencement of payment of all salary arrears owed to them, particularly, those working with the Abia State government.
The doctors gave the warning in a communiqué jointly signed by its President, Dr Emeka Orji, Secretary-General, Dr Kelechi Chikezie, and the Publicity & Social Secretary, Dr Umar Musa and issued at the end of their extra-ordinary National Executive Council meeting in Abeokuta, Ogun state.
The National Executive Council, NEC, of NARD further observed that despite their several engagements with the Government on the need to upwardly review CONMESS, which was last reviewed over 10 years ago, Government has neither called NARD to the negotiation table nor taken any tangible step in addressing the issue.
Stating that there have been previous ultimatums issued to the Government over the review of the salary structure, they condemned what they described as the “obnoxious” Bill sponsored by Hon. Ganiyu Johnson of the Federal House of Representatives.
They expressed disappointment at the delay in the payment of the 2023 Medical
Residency Training Fund, MRTF.
They also described as deliberate the refusal by the government to pay the salary arrears of 2014, 2015 and 2016 to their members as well as the arrears of the consequential adjustment of minimum wage.
The doctors also observed the infrastructural decay in the health sector as well as the severe manpower shortage in the sector, noting that despite several requests by NARD, the Government has still refused to provide at least 15 per cent budgetary allocation to the health sector as contained in the 2001 Abuja declaration for health care financing in Africa to which Nigeria is a signatory. NEC described the current 5.7 per cent allocation in the 2023 budget as laughable for a country claiming to be committed to safeguarding the health of its citizens and nipping the challenge of brain drain in the bud.
They lamented that many state Governors are yet to implement the appropriate CONMESS structure, domesticate the Medical Residency Training Act (MRTA) or improve on the hazard allowance paid to our colleagues and other health workers while owing a backlog of salary arrears to their members.
“NEC seriously frowned at these negative developments in the states which have lingered for a long time now, wondering how such state Governors get to sleep at night seeing that they are endangering the lives of the citizens of their various states.”