By Frank Ikpefan, Abuja
The Federal Government has offered health workers in the country between 350 to 600 per cent increase in their hazard allowance.
The government offered junior health workers 350 per cent rise and their senior colleagues 600 per cent.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen Chris Ngige disclosed this after a meeting between the Federal Government and representatives of all professional bodies and unions in the health sector on Tuesday at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
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.
Tuesday’s meeting deliberated on the issue of hazard allowance and retirement age for health workers in government health establishments.
According to the minister, 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).
“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,” Ngige said in a statement issued by the Deputy Director of Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Charles Akpan, on Wednesday in Abuja.
The statement said the meeting agreed that the offers be left open until both parties go back for consultations with their members and return in two weeks time for further negotiations.
The minister stated that the federal government spent N31billion for three months on health workers during COVID-19 pandemic.
“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,” the statement said.
Tuesday’s meeting was attended by Ministers of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire; Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora; Clem Agba (Budget and Planning) and Festus Keyamo (Labour and Employment).
Permanent Secretary of Federal Ministry of Health, Alhaji Abdulaziz Abdulahi and his Labour and Employment counterpart, Peter Yerima Tarfa were equally in attendance.