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FG has raised health workers’ hazard allowance by 300% -Ngige

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NIGERIA’S Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige said the Federal Government had raised health workers’ hazard allowance by over 300 per cent.

He made the announcement on Wednesday after a closed door meeting with health workers at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said the proposal was made by the Presidential Committee on Salaries and Wages that had been handling negotiations over the welfare of health workers, especially since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

The minister said the government had since spent up to N30 to 31 billion in payments of such allowances, especially since COVID-19 began.

“We moved from the N5,000… a month, which was long forgotten, until COVID came,” the minister said. He also gave estimates on what the government was offering the health workers.

The minister said the government “had offered things that are very reasonable” as it had improved the situation for both junior and senior workers.

He said in terms of allowance, there had been  “about 350 per cent rise for junior workers and about 600 per cent rise for senior workers.”

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Ngige cited a suffering national economy, a budget being funded by borrowing, and a gross drop in government earnings as reasons for the level of offer.

However, health workers are yet to accept the raise as the minister noted that a two-week adjournment had been called, to allow them to conclude negotiations with their colleagues before  providing a feedback.

It has been three months since the minister of labour and employment threatened the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) with a ‘no-work no-pay’ clause during the recent strike.

The ICIR had reported that the association of doctors listed the ‘non-implementation of 50 per cent hazard allowance for all health workers’ as part of the reasons it took the industrial action.

In September 2020, The Joint Health Service Unions (JOHESU) had also gone on a seven-day strike over the non-payment of hazard allowance for treating COVID-19 patients, a report said.

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