Nigerian Resident Doctors Association asserts members’ right to demand improved conditions of service.
This is coming on the heels of a statement credited to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige that the doctors are suffering from “entitlement mentality.”
Speaking on Arise TV on Monday, Ngige accused the association of having an entitlement mentality.
“If the NARD, who we have been managing their matter…We are giving them everything they want, including their Medical Resident Training Fund; we are paying them, even when in training, paying them full salary, paying them all the allowances and you decided that we have not done enough. Like I said before, you have an option to go. It is left for the education ministry and the health ministry to fashion out what they can do.
“The entitlements syndrome, the sense of entitlement is too much in this country and like I said earlier, you obey the law you look odd, you apply the law, you look odd or you are a wicked man. I don’t have any apologies for whatever I have done in the management of trade disputes.”
However, the NARD, responding through its Secretary-General, Dr Chikezie Kelechi, in an interview with PUNCH, said, “We do not have an entitlement mentality and our demands are not absurd. Every association deserves the right to ask for an increment in salary.
“The Medical Residency Training Fund has been there and has been paid about three times now. It is paid once a year and it was approved in 2017 and did not take effect until about three years ago. Even in those three years, every time it is paid, there is a threat of a strike. The government does not ordinarily want to pay and these monies are appropriated but there is this unwillingness to pay. Every year, there has to be a threat of strike for them to pay.
“We are tired of getting the government to do what they are supposed to do naturally. The first round of update courses for the year has been done, the first round of exams for the year has been concluded and these monies were not paid. So, what is he saying?”
The Federal Government was given two weeks by NARD on Saturday to comply with its demands or risk industrial unrest.
The Consolidated Medical Salary Structure must be immediately increased by 200 percent of the existing gross physician salary, according to the doctors.
The doctors also demand that the law that would require recent medical and dental graduates to perform five years of mandatory service in Nigeria before receiving a full licence to practise be immediately withdrawn.