By Frank Ikpefan Abuja
The Federal Government has offered health workers between 350 to 600 per cent increase in their hazard allowance.
Under the increment, junior health workers got 350 per cent rise and their senior colleagues were given 600 per cent raise.
Labour and Employment Minister Chris Ngige announced this on Tuesday after a meeting between the Federal Government and representatives of all professional bodies and unions in the Health sector at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Ngige said the Federal Government had agreed in principle to increase the retirement age of doctors and other health workers from 60 to 65 years and 70 years for consultants.
The Tuesday’s meeting deliberated on hazard allowance and retirement age for health workers in government health establishments.
The minister said the government’s side, led by the Minister of State for Budget and Planning, Prince Clem Agba, gave a counter-offer to the earlier submissions made by the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) as well as its affiliate associations and the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU).
“The government gave them that offer based on the reality we have on the 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 a two-week adjournment to enable them conclude consultation with their members and report back to us,” Ngige said in a statement yesterday in Abuja by the ministry’s Deputy Director of Press and Public Relations, Charles Akpan.
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 for further negotiations.
Ngige stressed that the Federal Government spent N31 billion for three months on health workers during COVID-19 pandemic.
“But we moved from the N5,000 hazard allowance per month, which was long forgotten until COVID-19 struck. During COVID-19, the government spent about N31 billion for three months.
“So, I think the government has offered things that are very reasonable, increasing the former positions of junior and senior health workers. Junior workers had 350 per cent rise and senior workers had about 600 per cent,” the statement said.
The Tuesday’s meeting was attended by Health Minister Dr. Osagie Ehanire and the Ministers of State Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora (Health); Clem Agba (Budget and Planning) and Festus Keyamo (Labour and Employment).
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