Striking resident doctors in the country in the early hours of Thursday signed a new Memorandum of Terms of Settlement with the Federal Government.
The doctors, operating under the aegis of the National Association of Resident Doctors, after the meeting, which began at about 2:30pm on Wednesday and ended at 12:30am on Thursday, insisted that their salaries must be paid before they will call off the strike.
Federal Government negotiation team, which was led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, promised that the doctors would receive their bank alerts on Thursday (today).
The leadership of NARD will then meet on Friday to decide on the next line of action.
According to a communique of the meeting, signed by all stakeholders in the health sector and released by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, the meeting is expected to reconvene on November 2, 2017 to examine the process expected to have been followed through by the two disputing parties.
The Memorandum of Terms of Settlement reads: “A meeting was held on September 6, 2017, following the strike embarked upon by the members of the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) on September 4, 2017. The meeting considered the Memorandum of Terms of Settlement dated August 31, 2017 which was signed by the Parties at the end of the conciliation meeting held at the instance of the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment to address the 6 – point issues of concern to the members of NARD.
“In view of the ongoing strike by members of NARD, an emergency meeting was convened by the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment to address areas of dissatisfaction in the Settlement by NARD. The meeting noted NARD’s Position that despite the signed Memorandum of Terms of Settlement, the industrial action by its members emanated from a distrust of Government commitment to execute its own end of the Terms of Settlement.
“The Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment expressed displeasure that NARD members embarked on strike inspite of the signed collectively agreed Terms of Settlement dated August 31, 2017, and conciliation in progress in line with the provisions of Section 5 of the Trade Disputes Act, CAP. T8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN), 2004. The issues of concern to NARD were therefore re-addressed as follows:
“1) Failure To Pay Our Salary Shortfall Of 2016 And January To May 2017
Acknowledging the need for the Resident Doctors to receive their full salaries, the meeting deliberated extensively on the accounting difficulties encountered in the disbursement of salaries to non – regular payrolls labeled ‘Non Regular Allowances’ as against regular payrolls covered by the IPPIS platform.
“The meeting further noted that the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) did receive one Authority to Incur Expenditure (AIE) of the sum of N13.2Billion to address the shortfalls in Public Sector including payment of the salaries of affected doctors in Federal Tertiary Health Institutions (FTHI). After due considerations by the meeting especially of the document submitted by NARD on “Salary Shortfall”, it was agreed –
“i. That the OAGF has to employ checks and balances in disbursing Government funds. Accordingly, though verifications had been done by the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA), there was still need to carry out authentications. Payment would therefore be made directly to the affected FTHI for Doctors and Staff that have been authenticated, and additionally, a soft copy would be forwarded to the Parent Ministry (FMoH), Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, CMDs, NARD and NMA;
- That the FTHIs on list A of the document submitted by NARD that have been authenticated by OAGF were expected to receive payments on or before Friday, September 8, 2017 as OAGF tendered a mandate containing 8 FTHI and pledged to forward an additional list of the remaining FTHI to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for necessary action between September 7 – 8, 2017;
iii. That the 2nd batch (list B) Mandate will be treated as soon as their AIE is sent to OAGF since NARD claimed that PICA had verified the shortfalls.
“2) Failure To Rectify The Salary Shortfall From August 2017
The meeting noted and agreed with NARD demand for a 100% payment of salaries to its members. However it was observed that the shortfalls were basically experienced by those not on the IPPIS platform termed “Non Regular Allowances/Payments”.
The challenges on this issue were discussed extensively and it was noted that the OAGF was currently capturing the Paramilitary Staff on IPPIS Platform and would be ready to deal with members of NARD by first week of October precisely October 4, 2017. In this regard, it is expected that the 100% payment will be implemented as from October 2017, as September salaries were already at advanced stage of preparation. However, any shortfall that occurs will be treated together with that of August, 2017.