The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has expressed surprise over the news that members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) are embarking on a nationwide strike, appealing to them to reconsider their action.
Gbajabiamila had, at a meeting last Tuesday with the leadership of the resident doctors and the executive arm led by the two ministers manning the Federal Ministry of Health, begged the doctors to extend the strike ultimatum while government works towards meeting their demands.
At the meeting, he also assured NARD that their training would be captured in the 2021 budget whether or not it is included by the Executive in the ministry’s budget.
But the doctors after six hours of failed negotiations and expirations of a 14-day ultimatum commenced an indefinite nationwide strike Monday.
The Speaker, in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, said he could not believe that despite the steps taken by the National Assembly to intervene in the matter, the resident doctors could still embark on the strike.
He appealed to them again to call off the strike while all the resolutions reached at last week’s meeting are implemented one after the other.
He also called on them to consider the plight of the average Nigerian as they consider shifting their position.
The statement reads: ”With all the positive steps taken in a bid to fulfil all promises, I had appealed to NARD to tarry a while as the government works assiduously to meet their entitlements since the revised 2020 budget was passed only last week and all processes for presidential assent and implementation are yet to kick off in all Ministries, Departments and Agencies including Health.
“In keeping to my promise on residency funding, I raised the matter during consideration of the budget on last Wednesday and the sum of N4 billion was approved by the House from the Service Wide Votes for the commencement of funding of residency programme as provided for by the Medical Residency Training Act.
“The Senate concurred with that position on Thursday when it passed its version of the budget. The issue of a template for implementation was also raised by the doctors, and I directed that an emergency meeting with the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission be held on Monday, June 15. At the meeting, which held at the National Assembly, the Commission promised to produce the template in the next 48 hours. The leadership of NARD was also at the meeting.”
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