The Ministry of Labour and Employment has come against the 21-day ultimatum given to the Federal Government by the Nigerian Medical Association(NMA). It argues that it is in contradiction with the Memorandum of Action (MoA) within the timeline in article II, Vii, Vii and X of the MoA signed on August 21, 2021.
It should be noted that the NMA, a kind of umbrella association for other health associations in the country, has not been part of the ongoing strike by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD). It is now threatening to join the strike if the federal government does not meet the demands of NARD.
In a reaction to the threat in a statement titled, ‘Labour ministry to NMA: Your 21-day ultimatum in collision with our MoU,’ the government states that the NMA’s stand is not in tandem with the timeline stated in the Memorandum of Agreement.
Charles Akpan, a spokeman for the Ministry of Labour and Employment insists that the Federal Government is working hard to implement its own side of the agreement but till now, both NARD/ Postgraduate Medical College are yet to submit the validated application for the eligible doctors in order for the ministry to sort out payment issues .
“Importantly, article II on payment of the outstanding hazard allowance from the 2020 Medical Residency Training Fund states that the fund will be paid after verification and reconciliation of figures from the BOF. Till now, Both NARD/ Postgraduate Medical College are yet to submit the validated application for the eligible doctors missed out in 2020 to enable this payment.
Akpan also said that the technical committee set up in article Vii to tackle the backlog of arrears on Government Integrated Financial Management Information System was given four weeks effective Monday, August 31, 2021, to round off its assignments, querying if this wasn’t a collision with the 21-day ultimatum.
“It is, therefore, clear that the 21-day ultimatum will neither assist the NMA discharge the role assigned to it in the MoU nor facilitate the faithful implementation of the timeline which the federal government has given every attention.”
The government is of the opinion that the NMA should play its role “as the guardian of its affiliate associations instead of descending into the arena for needless fear of impeachment.”