Prime News Ghana

Nigerian Govt to pay doctors by Friday to break strike

By Sam Edem
Nigerian Medical practitioners
Nigerian Medical practitioners
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The federal government has promised to offset salary arrears of resident doctors, who went on strike this week, in efforts to get them back to work.

A meeting called by the Labour Minister, Chris Ngige, with both National Association of Resident Doctors, the Nigerian Medical Association, hospital heads and the health ministry lasted much of Wednesday.

The meeting discussed agreements reached with striking doctors on August 31, shortly before the strike started. The outcome will be discussed by resident doctors on Friday in hopes of a possible suspension of the strike.

Crucial to the discussion is the absence of resident doctors on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information-the platform for data capture and verification for civil service workers nationwide.

That's led to a salary shortfall last year and between January and May this year for resident doctors.

Salary shortfall

The Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation was contacted for N13.2 billion to address shortfalls in public sector funding, including paying salaries of resident doctors in federal hospitals.

The meeting resolved that, in the absence of the IPPIS, salaries would be sent directly to the affected hospitals that have been authenticated.

The payments are expected as early as Friday September 8, as a gesture of goodwill, for the first eight hospitals.

The accountant-general has forwarded a list of the remaining hospitals to the Central Bank for necessary action, according to a memo from the meeting.

A second batch of hospitals not captured on IPPIS will be treated once the financial implication is sent to the account-general's office.

Resident doctors claim the shortfalls are already verified by the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA).

August 2017 salary

Doctors claim their salary shortfall from August 2017 was never rectified, despite their demand for full pay.

The meeting memo observed the shortfalls "were basically experience by those not on the IPPIS platform".

Paramilitary staff are still being captured on the platform, and the accountant-general's office would be ready to deal with members of NARD by October 4, the memo said.

Doctors can expect full pay by October, but preparation for September salaries are already far gone-and any shortfalls will be treated together with that of August.

One member each of NARD, NMA along with ministers of labour, health and the Budget Office will meet with finance and budget-and-planning ministers to talk about shortfalls for doctors not on IPPIS.

But all arrears will be paid based on old payment system before existence of IPPIS.

Source: Daily Trust