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Reps summon minister over resident doctors’ grievances

For an enduring resolution of the grievances of the resident doctors in the country, the leadership of the House of Representatives has summoned the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed.

The medics recently suspended the 10-day industrial action they began on April 1, 2021, for four weeks after striking a pact with the Federal Government.

The parley, by the Speaker of the lower legislative chamber, Femi Gbajabiamila, holds next week.

It is to ensure implementation of the Memorandum of Action entered into between the government and members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).

The Speaker, while meeting with the executive of the NARD, led by the President, Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi at the association’s secretariat in Abuja yesterday, assured that the House would ensure an amicable resolution on the contentious hazard allowance issue and other grievances.

Gbajabiamila, who acknowledged that it was impossible to accommodate the perk in the 2021 national budget, promises that the Green Chamber would see to its inclusion in the supplementary budget.

While commending the medical professionals for suspending the strike at the request of the House, the Speaker added: “Even the constitution talks about essential services, but there’s nothing as essential a service than that which seeks to save and protect lives.”

Reiterating that the chamber believed that “the laborer must earn his wage”, Gbajabiamila pledged: “We’ll monitor issues being processed, the IPPIS, training fund, hazard allowance which the House championed at the peak of the Covid-19 crisis.

“All the issues will be addressed. We’re looking to come to a reasonable and acceptable hazard allowance, as well as the training fund, which when the supplementary budget is introduced, we hope and expect to justify why this should be accommodated

“We will do everything we need to do to see how we can capture that.”

He continued: “We are inviting the finance minister next week so that we can talk and see how, as best as we can, accommodate all these issues and cement the Memorandum of Action.”

On why the leadership of the House had to visit NARD’s secretariat for the meeting, the Speaker said it was to appreciate the respect and understanding the association had shown for the Speaker and the legislature by suspending the strike to allow for resolution of the issues.

Gbajabiamila said: said: “The decision to visit you is a clear message that we are with you because the role of doctors cannot be understated and to thank you for calling off the strike because of what we have done.

“We are here to encourage and thank you for calling off the strike and give you assurances that the House will be there with you, talking with the executive on what needs to be done.”

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