Ngige tackles resident doctors as NARD continues strike

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, on Thursday said the Federal Government had implemented four out of the items listed on the Memorandum of Action it signed with the leadership of the striking National Association of Resident Doctors.

NEWSCASTARS.COM gathered that Ngige described others that were still pending as work in progress as he spoke in a telephone interview with The Punch.

The NARD, an association of doctors undergoing residency training, had last Thursday commenced what it called “a total and indefinite strike” despite government’s last-minute efforts to stop the action.

The minister said, “The Ministry of Health and the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria reported to me that the list they sent to the Accountant-General had been fully treated, that the house officers had received their money.

“I cross-checked with two centres in Abakaliki and one other state and they confirmed that they had been paid. They also told me that the central portal system for the recruitment of house officers is already open and is on. People make their choice and they post them there.

“We are implementing the Memorandum of Action one after the other; we have implemented at least four of them categorically. Others are work in progress.”

Ngige added, “We are executing them but some are work in progress. If you say we should pay you residency training fund for 2021, nobody can pay you because the 2021 budget has not been released to ministries, not a penny has been released on it. So, how do we pay? It is not possible. We are still implementing 2020 budget up till end of May.

“But they have collected their 2020 residency allowance in December last year. It was N4bn, they have been paid; they submitted a list, and the money was paid on the list they submitted.

“They are only turning back to say that 570 of the people are not NARD members, and the Accountant-General Office told them that they were the ones that submitted the list. That is the only snag with that of 2020, otherwise, the N4bn has been paid to them.”

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