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Resident Doctors Give Federal Government 2-Week Extension on Salary Increment Ultimatum

Following the expiration of its ultimatum to the government for immediate implementation of a 200 per cent increase in the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure, CONMESS, the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, has further extended its already expired ultimatum by 2 weeks with effect from 5th July 2023.

NARD is also demanding the upward review of the associated allowances as requested in her previous letters on the subject matter, since the current economic realities in the country cannot justify the continued payment of CONMESS as it is at the moment or any increment below the 200 per cent as demanded.

Disclosing these in a communique issued at the end of the Extra-Ordinary National Executive Council meeting of NARD, the medical doctors emphasised that they cannot guarantee industrial harmony in the health sector nationwide at the expiration of this further extended ultimatum by 19th of July 2023, if all their demands are not met.

In the communique jointly signed by the President Secretary-General, Dr Emeka Orji, the Publicity, Dr Chikezie Kelechi and the Social Secretary, Dr Umar Musa, said the National Executive Council, NEC of NARD came up with the decision after appraising the level of implementation of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with Government on the 19th of May 2023 following the five-day warning strike embarked upon by the Association on the 17th of May 2023, as well as discuss other pressing issues bordering on the welfare of her members.

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The doctors are also demanding the immediate payment of the 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund, MRTF, as contained in the approved 2023 budget in line with various agreements they reached with the government.

They called on the government to without further delay pay all outstanding arrears owed their members including the hazard allowance and the skipping arrears of 2014-2016, and the arrears of consequential adjustment of minimum wage as there is no justifiable reason to keep owing these arrears and allowances.

“We demand the immediate release and the implementation of the guidelines on one-for-one replacement of clinical staff to cushion the effect of the massive manpower shortage in our various hospitals nationwide.

According to the communique: “NEC calls on the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria to discontinue the downgrading of the membership certificate issued by the West African Postgraduate Medical and Surgical colleges as this is not obtainable in other parts of West Africa were these same certificates are issued.

“NEC demands the immediate payment of all Salary Arrears, implementation of the CONMESS salary structure and new Hazard Allowance and domestication of the Medical Residency Training Act, and payment of the MRTF to our members in the State Tertiary Health Institutions nationwide.”

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They further observed with disappointment, that after seven weeks since the end of the five-day warning strike by the Association, the resolutions of the conciliatory meeting were yet to be implemented.

The expressed worry that the circular on one-for-one replacement of clinical staff who have exited the various tertiary hospitals across the country was yet to be released.

They recalled that the conciliatory meeting agreed that the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation would release the implementation guideline on or before 5th June 2023 for onward transmission to the Tertiary Hospitals for implementation.

“This has not happened till now. Unfortunately, Doctors and Nurses in these Tertiary Hospitals continue to break down and suffer the burnout effect, assaults, and harassment consequent upon the severe manpower shortage occasioned by this.”

They further observed with shock, the continued deplorable conditions of their members in the State Tertiary Health Institutions including Abia State, Imo State, Benue State, Nassarawa State, Kwara State, Bayelsa State, Ogun State and Federal Capital Territory, among others.

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