The Federal Government has rejected the 21-day ultimatum handed down by the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) for the resolution of the current dispute with the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).
The resident doctors embarked on a nationwide indefinite strike on August 1 over unpaid salaries and allowances among others.
The NMA had in a statement jointly signed on Sunday by its President, Prof. Innocent Ujah, and Secretary-General, Dr. Philips Ekpe, gave the federal government a 21-day ultimatum to resolve all pending issues with resident doctors in the interest of Nigerians.
The association said it would not allow the victimization of any doctor for participating in the strike.
But in a statement issued on Sunday night by the spokesman of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Charles Akpan, the federal government said the 21-day ultimatum issued by the NMA was at variance with the timeline stated in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the resident doctors on August 21.
According to the statement, the federal government “is religiously implementing its own side of the agreement by mandating the ministry to ensure the effective monitoring of issues raised at the meeting.”
It read: “First is that the NMA communiqué in Benin which issued a 21-day ultimatum is at variance with the timeline in article II, Vii, Vii, and X of the MOA.
“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.
“Article Vii on withdrawal of the circular from the Office of the Head of Service removing House and NYSC Doctors from the scheme of service says ‘the NMA should submit her position immediately to the FMOH PS for onward transmission to the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation with a view to processing and issuance of clarification circular within two months.’ The NMA is yet to comply with this.
“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.
“Also, article X of the MoU also states that the Nigerian Medical Association should facilitate the withdrawal of suits by Medical and Dental Doctors in Academics against the National Salaries Income and Wages Commission and the Accountant- General of the Federation to ensure the amicable resolution of the issues. The NMA is yet to do this, yet issuing a fresh 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.”
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