Story from Kenneth AFOR, Lagos
The Federal Government of Nigeria has agreed to increase hazard allowance of N5000 for all health workers in its health establishments in the country by 350 per cent and 600 per cent increments for junior and senior workers respectively.
It has also agreed to raise the retirement age of health workers from 60 years to 65 years and 70 years for consultants.
This was disclosed to journalists on Wednesday Charles Akpan, Deputy Director (Press and Public Relations) in the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
Prior to today’s disclosure, Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment briefed journalists at the end of a meeting between the Presidential Committee on Salaries (PSC), relevant Federal Government stakeholders and health professionals association and trade unions held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa Abuja on the new adjustment on Tuesday.
Ngige said the meeting deliberated on the issue of hazard allowance and retirement age for health workers in government health establishments.
He stated that the stakeholders were able to reach fruitful resolutions in the meeting.
The statement read: “The federal government has moved up from the N5,000 monthly hazard allowance paid to all health workers in Nigeria and now offering 350 per cent and 600 per cent increments for junior workers and senior workers respectively.
“The government side led by the minister of state for budget and planning gave a counteroffer to the earlier submissions made by the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and affiliate associations and the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU).
“The Government side gave them that offer based on the realities that we have on the ground, that the economy is not doing very well and the capital component of the budget is actually being funded on borrowing. The earnings of the government have also drastically gone down.
“So, they are going back to their people with the government offer and they asked for two weeks adjournment to enable them to conclude consultation with their members and report back to us.”
Ngige said they agreed that the offers should be left as they are until both parties go back for consultations with their members and return in two weeks’ time for further negotiations.
“But we moved from the N5000 hazard allowance per month, which was long forgotten until COVID-19 struck. During COVID-19, the government spent about N31 billion for three months.
“So, I think the government side has offered things that are very reasonable, increasing the former positions of junior and senior health workers,” the statement read.
Others who attended the meeting from the government side included the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Enahire, and Ministers of State (Health), Dr Olorunimbe Mamora; (Budget and Planning), Clems Agba and (Labour and Employment), Festus Keyamo.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Alhaji Abdulaziz Abdulahi and his Labour and Employment counterpart, Peter Yerima Tarfa, were also in attendance.
Members of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) had on 1 April began an indefinite strike to ask that the Federal Government meet their 10-point demands which include an upward review of the hazard allowance.
The association later suspended its strike on 10 April after signing a new agreement with the Federal Government.