© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Ondo doctors’ strike: Govt says insufficient fund stalls payment of salary
FOLLOWING a public outcry of the non-payment of salaries for six months by resident doctors of the Ondo State Medical Teaching hospital, the state government says insufficient funds in 2019 stalled the payment process.
Jibayo Adeyeye, the Special Adviser on Health Matters to the State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu said the Teaching hospital was financed with funds internally generated from the government health facilities.
Adeyeye said there was no appropriation of funds for the running of the teaching hospital in the 2019 budget, hence the inability to pay resident doctors of the hospital.
The state governor in May 2019 signed into law, the establishment of the University of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital which provided two locations for its site in Ondo and Akure respectively.
Recalled that resident doctors of the Medical Teaching Hospital, Akure on January 10 embarked on an indefinite strike over a backlog of unpaid salaries for 6 months.
Although the Chief Medical Director, in a telephone interview with The ICIR had dismissed claims by the doctors saying not all doctors were been owed for six months because of their varying time of employment.
The doctors, however, argued they had evidence to back up their claims.
They also accused the government of using a divide-and-rule system by paying 33 doctors out of over 150 doctors in the hospital.
In response to this, Adeyeye said ‘the hospital management had in the heat of the unpaid salaries and arrears last year agreed with the medical practitioners to pay just 33 doctors with the available funds without any preference’, SaharaReporters has reported.
“So, during that period the money that was available was not enough to pay all resident doctors and they were given priority in payment arrangement.
“Now only the newly employed doctors and those yet to do proper filling of their documents with the management were affected by the unpaid salaries.
According to 2019, Ondo State approved budget, a total of N7.5 bn was allocated to the Ondo State Medical Teaching Hospital for its capital expenditure.
Also, a total of N7.9 bn was allocated for recurrent expenditure, with its personnel expenditure total as N7.8bn
The data revealed that the Medical Teaching Hospital following its signing into law was allocated capital expenditure of N1.2bn. There was however no allocations for its personnel expenditure.
While the government pegged the non-payment of resident doctors’ salary on insufficient funds, data made available to the public states that there was no fund allocated for personnel expenditure of the hospital.
Nevertheless, the government has said resident doctors and other workers on the teaching hospital’s payroll would begin to receive their salaries as and when due because the hospital would have started operating the 2020 budget that was signed into law in December.