FGVotes N37.5bn as Hazard Allowances for Health Workers

Urges NARD, JOHESU to withdraw strike notices

- Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

Federal government has said that N37.5 billion was being set aside to take care of payment of the new hazard allowance for federal workers in the healthcare sector.

Government also said that it would take the final decision on the new hazard allowance for health workers following the inability of the unions in the health sector to resolve issues among themselves.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, stated this Thursday night while briefing journalist­s after a meeting of the Presidenti­al Committee on Salaries, relevant federal government stakeholde­rs and health sector profession­al associatio­ns and trade unions.

Ngige explained that the government side allowed enough time for the two big bodies of the health unions and profession­als- the Nigerian Medical Associatio­n and the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) to harmonise their different positions on the hazard allowance, but they were not able to do so.

Consequent­ly, the minister said the matter would be taken back to the National Salaries, Wages and Incomes Commission (NSWIC) and the Presidenti­al Committee on Salaries to decide on the new hazard allowance for health profession­als and workers.

A statement issued yesterday by Deputy Director Press, Mr. Charles Akpan quoted the minister as saying that the federal government was treading cautiously in order not to be seen as trying to stampede the health workers since the matter concerned money.

He said, “We would have separated them into JOHESU and NMA but that will give us much problem in terms of the implementa­tion of whatever we agree on.

“So, we are taking them jointly and it is yielding fruits now. The two big bodies have given their final positions. The government has taken their final positions back. We have also allowed them time to see if they can discuss among themselves like they did just before COVID-19 and we came out with COVID-19 allowance.

“We have given them that time to see if they can meet and harmonise their positions, but they were not able to do so. We are adjourning this meeting sine die for the government side to look at those two positions to see whether we can do a middle of the road within our organ, the NSIWC, which by its mandate, is the government organ that fixes salaries, wages, allowances and remunerati­on.”

Ngige said that the federal government earlier offered the health workers 300 per cent increment on hazard allowances, which came to a quantum amount of N37.5 billion.

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