The Federal Government has said that it will make the final decision on the new hazard allowance for health workers.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Chris Ngige stated this Thursday night while briefing journalists at the end of the Presidential Committee on Salaries, relevant Federal Government stakeholders, and health sector professional associations and trade unions.
Ngige explained that the government side allowed enough time for the two big bodies of the health unions and professional-the Nigerian Medical Association and the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU)-to harmonise their different positions on the hazard allowance, but they were not able to do so.
Consequently, the Minister said the matter would be taken back to the National Salaries, Wages and Incomes Commission (NSWIC) and the Presidential Committee on Salaries to decide on the new hazard allowance for health professionals and workers.
He said the government was treading cautiously in order not to be seen as trying to stampede the health workers since the matter concerns money.
According to him, “We would have separated them into JOHESU and NMA but that will give us much problem in terms of the implementation of whatever we agree on.
“So, we are taking them jointly and it is yielding fruits now. The two big bodies have given their final positions. The Government has taken their final positions back. We have also allowed them time to see if they can discuss among themselves like they did just before COVID-19 and we came out with COVID-19 allowance.
“We have given them that time to see if they can meet and harmonise their positions, but they were not able to do so. We are adjourning this meeting sine die for the government side to look at those two positions to see whether we can do a middle-of-the-road within our organ, the NSIWC, which by its mandate, is the government organ that fixes salaries, wages, allowances, and remuneration.”
The Minister recalled that the federal government had earlier offered the health workers a 300 percent increment on hazard allowances, which came to a quantum amount of N37.5 billion.
He said they were trying to work within that realm of N37.5 billion, following the inability of the unions to harmonise their different positions.