By Bolaji Uke
The federal government says despite the nation’s lean resources caused by the emergence of COVID-19, N20 billion has been spent on Special Hazard and Inducement Allowances for Medical and Health Workers for April, May and June of 2020.
The Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, said this in a statement on Tuesday while appealing to the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to suspend its ongoing strike.
He said the Buhari administration already addressed six out of the eight demands listed by the body.
Ngige noted that by Labour Laws and International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions, all parties are not to employ arm-twisting methods.
The minister pointed out that there is a pending case in the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) instituted by two civil society groups against NARD, Attorney -General of the Federation, and the Ministers of Health, and Labour and Employment.
Ngige added that groups, Citizens Advocacy for Social Rights (CASER) and Association of Women in Trading and Agriculture (AWITA), asked for an interlocutory injunction against a further strike by resident doctors.
The statement said the government has also expended N9.3 billion as premium for Group Life Insurance for Health workers, civil and public servants in federal organisations.
The insurance will run from March 2020 to March 2021.
Ngige, however, announced a meeting between NARD and the Federal Ministries of Health, Finance, Budget and National Planning to be on Wednesday for further discussions on the ongoing strike.