The National Association of Resident Doctors says the Abia State Government owes its members 23 months’ salary arrears, appealing to well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to pay the salary arrears.
The association also said Imo, Ondo, and Ekiti state governments owe its members 10 months, six months, and three months’ salary arrears respectively.
In a communique issued at the end of its National Executive Council held recently in Abuja, NARD noted that the September 2021 salary of its members at the Delta State University Teaching Hospital was withheld by the Delta state government, while the September and October 2021 salaries of its members in Gombe state were also withheld by the Gombe state government during the last NARD strike.
The NEC “observed with serious concerns the poor response of most state governments in domesticating the Medical Residency Training Act of 2017 while commending states like Delta, Lagos, and Benue which have adopted the law and also commenced the payment of the Medical Residency Training Fund to our members in those states.
“The NEC noted that the House of Representatives is planning a bill prohibiting health workers from going on strike to demand their rights. We maintain that the right to strike is a universal democratic right of all employees, regardless of where they are employed: private or public sector. Hence, this move is against the rights of a worker to express their grievances with peaceful negotiation and as a last resort, embarking on industrial action.
“The NEC noted the profligate use of power by the Chief Medical Director of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital. Also, his deliberate refusal to abide by the provisions of the 2017 Medical Residency Training Act in the compilation and submission of the list of resident doctors eligible for the 2021 Medical Residency Training Fund is threatening industrial harmony at the institution.
“The NEC lamented the acute manpower shortage in most tertiary health institutions occasioned by the ongoing massive medical brain drain and the attendant burnout effects on our members,” the communique made available to LN247 read in part.
NARD, however, calls on the Federal Government, the Nigerian Governor Forum, stakeholders, and well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the Governors of Abia, Imo, Ondo, and Ekiti states to urgently pay arrears of salaries and allowances owed its members in the state tertiary health institutions.
The association also appealed to the Governors of Delta and Gombe states to release the withheld salaries of its members so as to alleviate their sufferings.
“We urge the Federal Government to take steps towards curtailing medical brain drain. The Federal Government should look towards increasing the budgetary allocation of the health sector from the subsisting five per cent in the 2022 budget to a figure closer to 15 per cent as recommended at the 2001 Abuja declaration for health financing in Africa.
“This will enable more employment in the sector, improved welfare and service conditions for health workers, and also an upgrade of health facilities and equipment in our institutions across the country,” NARD said.