The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr Ayuba Wabba, has disclosed that the federal government is yet to commence payment of the new hazard allowance it approved for health workers in the country.
Wabba revealed this on Thursday, while urging the Federal Government to immediately implement the payment of the new hazard allowance to health workers.
He spoke at the 2022 annual Federal Capital Territory Nurses Week/Scientific Workshop of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives on Thursday in Abuja.
At the workshop with the theme, “Invest in Nursing and respect rights to secure global health,” Wabba hailed the health workers for their resilience and sacrifices to the country even though they were underpaid.
“Many health workers have fallen victim to diseases in taking care of patients. I salute the nurses and Midwives, your reward is not only in heaven but here on earth. I urge you to learn so you can discharge quality healthcare service to Nigerians.
“The payment of hazard allowance will boost the morale of our health workers in the country.
“The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the invaluable role of nurses,” he said while paying tribute to those who died in their bid to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic by preserving lives.
“Nurses and Midwives are smiles of life, they occupy special places in the heart of all Nigerians.
“They also occupy a very special place in the health system of every country. There will be no future in the health sector without nurses.
“You are the soul of the health system, it takes a motherly heart and compassion to be a nurse. This is the kind of heart that must define our health sector,” he said.
FG’s unfulfilled promise of improved Health Hazard allowance
Nigeria’s federal government is notorious for reneging on or refusing to fulfil its responsibilities to workers. University lecturers, health workers, aviation workers, civil servants, the list of unhappy and unfulfiled workers in the public sector is endless.
The call to increase the health hazard allowance of health workers in Nigeria was first made at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) argued that doctors and nurses risking their lives to fight the pandemic deserve more than N5000 as hazard allowance, when a Nigerian senator gets about one N1 million as ‘newspaper allowance’
With many Nigerians lending their voices to the case by NMA, the federal government reluctantly assured that it would review the allowances of health workers in federal medical centres and other federal hospitals across the country.
However, this was not officially approved until December 2021. It approved the increment of hazard allowance for health workers from N5000 to between N15,000 to N40,000 depending on the levels of the workers.
The approval was contained in a circular with reference number SWC/S/04/S.218/11/406 dated December 22, 2021 and signed by the Executive Chairman of the National Salaries, Wages and Income Commission.
The circular read in part, “Concerning the review of the hazard allowance applicable to health workers in the services of the federal hospitals, medical centres and clinics in ministries, departments and agencies, the hazard allowance was reviewed to a flat rate that ranges from N5,000 to between N15,000 and N34,000 for health workers on the CONHESS salary structure, while doctors on CONMESS had theirs reviewed from N5,000 to between N32,000 and N40,000.”
It is about a year since this approval was made, but implementation is yet to begin
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