The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, on Thursday, met with the relevant government officials with a view to averting the resumption of the strike by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).
At the meeting, issues such as non-payment of house officers, abolishment of bench fees, non-payment of national minimum wage, salary shortfall for 2014, 2015, and 2016, residency training allowance, and payment of resident doctors on GIFMIS platform were discussed.
Present at the meeting were top officials from the ministries of finance, health, labour, and employment as well as the Director-General of the Budget Office, Ben Akabueze, officials from the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), Committee of Chief Medical Directors (CMDs), among others.
The DG, Budget Office, Akabueze, informed the Speaker that action was being taken on the issues at stake and that a recommendation was submitted to the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, for approval after which payment would be made.
On his part, the permanent secretary in the finance ministry, Shehu Shinkafi, who represented the minister, said he would get back to her so that payment could be made before May 7.
It was agreed that another meeting would be held on Tuesday, May 4, for a conclusion on some of the issues at stake to avoid the planned resumption of the strike by the doctors.
Others present at the meeting were the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris; the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour, Yerima Tafa; the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Abdulaziz Abdullahi Mashi; the chairman, Committee of CMDs, Dr. Jafaru Momoh, who is also the CMD of the National Hospital, Abuja, officials from MDCN, among others.
The resident doctors had earlier this month embarked on an indefinite strike, making some demands and insisting that they must be met before they would call off the strike.
However, with the intervention of Speaker Gbajabiamila and other top government officials, the doctors suspended the strike and said if the issues were not resolved, they would resume on May 7.
As part of efforts to put the dispute to rest, Gbajabiamila visited the resident doctors at their headquarters in Abuja to assure them that actions were being taken to have a lasting solution.
Thursday’s meeting was part of the actions being taken by the Speaker to address the dispute.
Recall that since the assumption of office, Gbajabiamila has been on the issue of the resident doctors, who had threatened to embark on strike at different times.