By Simeon OSAJIE
The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has issued a two-week ultimatum to the Federal Government to commence the implementation of all unresolved agreements.
The demand was handed down by the national leadership in a communiqué at the end of a three-day extraordinary National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held at the Federal Medical Centre in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
The resident doctors also demanded a 15 percent annual budgetary allocation for the health sector from the current 5.7 percent, to address the current infrastructure decay, the recruitment of clinical staff to bridge the gap created by the current brain in the sector among other demands.
According to the communiqué, “NEC resolved to issue the Government a two-week ultimatum beginning today, 29th April 2023, to resolve all these demands, following the expiration of which on the 13th May 2023, we may not be able to guarantee industrial harmony in the sector nationwide.”
Among its demands are immediate increments in the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) salary structure to the tune of 200 percent of the current gross salary of doctors.
According to the doctors, the demanded revision of salary structure is in addition to the new allowances included in the letter written by NARD to the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, on July 7, 2022 for the review of CONMESS.
The NARD leadership further demanded the immediate withdrawal and jettisoning of the “ill-conceived” bill by the House of Representatives member representing Oshodi/Isolo Federal Constituency II in Lagos State, Ganiyu Johnson, on the alleged enslavement of young doctors in Nigeria.
It also sought the immediate payment of the 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF) in line with the agreements reached at the stakeholders’ meeting convened by the Federal Ministry of Health. “This should be done without further delay,” the communiqué added.
It also demanded the commencement of payment of all salary arrears owed to NARD members, including 2014, 2015, and 2016 salary arrears, as well as areas of the consequential adjustment of the minimum wage.