The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora, says the Federal Government has paid up to N20bn in COVID-19 inducement allowance to doctors and health workers in the country.
The minister, who applauded all front-line health workers in the country amid the fight against the pandemic, made this known on Wednesday morning.
About 16,000 doctors have downed tool over the government’s inability to meet their demands including insurance package, payment of the outstanding COVID-19 inducement allowance as well as the payment of medical residency training funding.
It was reported earlier that the doctors also called for the upward review of their hazard allowance from the sum of N5,000 which they described as “paltry”.
“The Federal Government has not invited us to a meeting after we notified them that we will be proceeding on strike. We have directed all our members across the country both federal and state institutions to recommence the strike we suspended on June 22, 2020,” the Nigeria Association of Resident Doctors had said at the commencement of the indefinite strike on Monday.
But speaking on Wednesday during a television programme, Mamora said it is regrettable that the kind of situation is happening at this point in time when the nation is grappling with a pandemic.
He said the N5,000 hazard allowance for doctors and health workers in the country which has been in existence for about 30 years was suspended for the period of the pandemic.
He said, “We have been able to pay the COVID-19 inducement allowance because we had to suspend the hazard allowance for this period so that we can go into renegotiation after.
“We are now paying starting from 50 per cent of the basic of the workers depending on where the point of operation is. We were able to pay April, May full, June, part of it has been paid but not fully paid and it is because of the economic situation and these funds have to be sourced for one way or the other.
“We’ve been able to disbursed close to N20bn and I repeat close to 20bn. So, to now say nothing has been done, that is not true.”