The Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes, and Associated Institutions, has appealed to the Federal Government to implement the circular on Hazard Allowance for health workers.
The Teaching Hospital Sector Chairman of SSAUTHRIAI, Mr. Mustapher Kabir, made the call during a peaceful protest/news conference organized by the association on Wednesday in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the union members carried out peaceful protests to express their feelings over the release of the circular for payment and urged FG to expedite efforts toward its quick implementation.
NAN reports that the health workers in August 2022 held a peaceful protest in to demand the implementation of the new hazard allowance, COVID-19 inducement allowance, and Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) adjustment.
They displayed different placards expressing their demands from the government which included the implementation of the circular on payment of the new hazard allowance and other allowances/arrears accrued to them.
Kabir also appreciated the Federal Government for authorizing the release of N43 billion, through the circular, for the implementation of the health workers’ hazard allowance, which was approved in December 2021.
He said, “Signing and releasing authority to incur the expenditure is a welcome development, but actual payment of the allowance is paramount and would be more appreciated by the union.
“We appreciate FG on the recent authority to incur expenditure that released the sum of N43 billion through Authority to Incur Expenditure to the office of Accountant-General of the Federation for the implementation of the long awaiting health workers hazard allowance.
“It is money that was approved in December 2021; we are surprised that it took too long.
“But, through efforts of SSAUTHRIAI, we are able to go into negotiation and consultation with the Federal Government/Federal Ministry of Finance. And today, we are happy that the circular for its implementation is out; but that is not a hub.
“We appeal office of the Accountant General of the Federation to expedite efforts to send a mandate to the Director of IPPIS to immediately begin the payment.”
Kabir, however, expressed dissatisfaction with the way the circular to incur the expenses was released, which he said: “generated a lot of heat in the health sector yesterday”.
“When you know you are budgeting for all health workers; why use the clause “NARD(National Association of Resident Doctors) Hazard Allowance”, it caused a lot of problems and we have to calm our members down,” he said.
He, therefore, urged the federal government “to take recognizance of using all health workers and not using the doctors” in an event where the such authority to incur expenditure is to be released.
Speaking, the Vice-President, of SSAUTHRIAI, Mr. Fidelis Ogoboi, urged the government to intensify efforts to provide the fund to enable it paid within the shortest possible time.
Ogoboi said that the economic hardship and inflation in the country were really affecting the health workers, as they had limited cash to carter for their needs.
“Releasing the circular is like giving the health workers an ordinary paper, which will have no positive impact on their lives.
“Let the government do everything possible to make available the fund to and let it be paid to the targeted recipients,” he said.
Also, a member of SSAUTHRIAI, Mrs. Margret Osho, urged the government to intensify efforts to pay all other allowances and arrears accrued to health workers, which include COVID-19 inducement allowance, promotion allowances, and CONHESS adjustment.
Osho, also the Assistant Director of Procurement, at Federal Neuro-psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, lamented that the morale of the health workers was low due to loads of unpaid allowances
She called for improved wages, incentives, and motivational packages for health workers, adding that “a hungry worker cannot provide quality health services”.