Strike: Doctors’ hazard allowance to be included in supplementary budget -Gbajabiamila assures NARD

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For the first time in the history of Government/Labour Industrial dispute resolution, the leadership of the House of Representatives led by Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Tuesday  met with the leadership of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) at the association’s secretariat over the strike action declared by the doctors.
The Speaker said the leadership coming to the secretariat to hold the meeting was to appreciate the respect and understanding the association had shown for the Speaker and the House to suspend the strike to allow for the resolution of the issues.
The Speaker noted that though it was impossible to accommodate the hazard allowance in the 2021 National Budget, the House would ensure that it was included in the supplementary budget.
He said: “The decision to visit you is a clear message that we are with you because the role of doctors cannot be understated and to thank you for calling off the strike because of what we have done.
“We are here to encourage and thank you for calling off the strike and give you assurances that the House will be there with you, talking with the executive on what needs to be done”.
In its determination to proffer an enduring resolution of contending issues with resident doctors in the country, the leadership of the House of Representatives will next week invite the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, over the issue of industrial action by the doctors, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila disclosed.
According to Gbajabiamila, the meeting will be over how to secure the commitment of the Minister to the execution of the Memorandum of Action entered into between the government and members of NARD.
The Speaker, while meeting with the executive of the NARD led by the President, Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, at the association’s secretariat in Abuja, assured that the House would ensure an amicable and acceptable resolution of the contentious hazard allowance issue among others.
Recall that the resident doctors had suspended the industrial action that began on April 1, 2021, after 10 days of its commencement.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, the Speaker noted that though it was impossible to accommodate the hazard allowance in the 2021 National Budget, the House would ensure that it was included in the supplementary budget.
While commending the doctors for suspending the strike on the request of the House, the Speaker said, “Even the constitution talks about essential services, but there’s nothing as essential a service than that which seeks to save and protect lives.”
Saying that the House believes that “the labourer must earn his wages,” Gbajabiamila said “We’ll monitor issues being processed, the IPPIS, training fund, hazard allowances which the House championed at the peak of the Covid-19 crisis.
“All the issues will be addressed. We’re looking to come to a reasonable and acceptable hazard allowance as well as the training fund, which when the supplementary budget is introduced, we hope and expect to justify why this should be accommodated
“I think it was an oversight in the last budget, but we will do everything we need to do to see how we can capture that.
“We are inviting Finance Minister next week so that we can talk and see how as best as we can accommodate all these issues and cement the Memorandum of Action”.
On why the leadership of the House had to visit the NARD secretariat for the meeting, the Speaker said it was to appreciate the respect and understanding the association has shown for the Speaker and the House to suspend the strike to allow for the resolution of the issues.
He said: “The decision to visit you is a clear message that we are with you because the role of doctors cannot be understated and to thank you for calling off the strike because of what we have done.
“We are here to encourage and thank you for calling off the strike and give you assurances that the House will be there with you, talking with the executive on what needs to be done”.
Earlier, the president of the association, Okhuaihesuyi, who expressed appreciation for the visit, said the strike was called off on the heels of the intervention of the Speaker and the House.
While thanking the Speaker for all his previous interventions, he noted that the association has entered into a Memorandum of Action with the Executive and work has commenced on some of the issues.
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