By Ignatius Ushie.
The Federal Government says it has made an offer to increase hazard allowance for all health workers in government health establishments in the country. This was contained in a statement made available to PeakNews in Abuja. Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige stated this Tuesday night after a meeting between the Federal Government and representatives of all the professional bodies and unions in the health sector.
The meeting, which was held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa Abuja, deliberated on the issue of hazard allowance and retirement age for health workers in government health establishments.
Briefing journalists on their resolutions, Ngige said the Federal Government has moved up from the N5000 monthly hazard allowance paid to all health workers in Nigeria, offering 350 percent and 600 percent increments for junior workers and senior workers respectively.
According to him, the Government side led by the Minister of State for Budget and Planning, gave a counter offer to the earlier submissions made by the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and affiliate associations and the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU).
He said, “The Government side gave them that offer based on the reality that we have on ground, that the economy is not doing very well and the capital component of the budget is actually being funded on borrowing. The earnings of the Government have also drastically gone down.
“So, they are going back to their people with the government offer and they asked for two weeks adjournment to enable them to conclude consultation with their members and report back to us.”
He added that they agreed that the offers should be left as it is until both parties go back for consultations with their members and return in two weeks time for further negotiations.
“But we moved from the N5000 hazard allowance per month, which was long forgotten until COVID-19 struck. During COVID-19, the Government spent about N31billion for three months. So, I think the Government side has offered things that are very reasonable, increasing the former positions of junior and senior health workers. Junior workers had 350 percent rise and senior workers had about 600 percent.
Earlier while making opening remarks, Ngige said the Federal Government has agreed in principle to increase the retirement age of doctors and other health workers from 60 to 65 years and 70 years for consultants.Others who attended the meeting from the Government side included the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Enahire, and Ministers of State, Dr Olorunimbe Mamora (Health), Clems Agba (Budget and Planning) and Festus Keyamo (Labour and Employment). The Permanent Secretary of Federal Ministry of Health, Alhaji Abdulaziz Abdulahi and his Labour and Employment counterpart, Peter Yerima Tarfa were equally in attendance.