The Federal Government has approved additional N8.9 billion, to pay up the large chunk of the June 2020 COVID-19 allowance to all health workers in the country.
Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, disclosed this during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), at the end of the meeting between the government and the Nigeria Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) on Wednesday in Abuja.
NARD had embarked on an indefinite strike in all federal and state hospitals in the country, to press for the payment of the COVID-19 allowance.
It also demands that the payment of the Medical Residency Training funding to all members, as approved in the revised 2020 Budget, provision of genuine Group Life Insurance and Death in Service Benefits for all health workers.
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Others are payment of outstanding April/May and June COVID-19 inducement allowance, determination of revised hazard allowance for all health workers as agreed in previous meetings with relevant stakeholders, immediate payment of salary shortfall of 2014, 2015 and 2016, among others.
Ngige said the implementation of the payment of the Special Hazard and Inducement Allowance has been concluded.
According him, the meeting was satisfied that the N20 billion already appropriated in 2020 COVID-19 budget has been exhausted.
He commended the federal government and President Muhammadu Buhari, for approving additional N8.9 billion, to pay up the large chunk of the June 2020 COVID-19 allowance to all health workers.
He added that this has been cash backed, and the mandate sent to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for payments to start with effect from September 9.
The minister stated that it will bring the total disbursement to about N288 billion.
Ngige noted that discussion for review of a Permanent Hazard Allowance for health workers will commence as soon as possible, after consultation by his ministry with all stakeholders in the health sector.
He said based on the principles of ability to pay, this will cover all health workers in a new Collective Bargaining Agreement and that the meeting would be convened as soon as possible in that regard.
The minister also said that on the provision of Personal Protective Equipment, NARD has agreed that hospitals and isolation centres have sufficient Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).