Senator Chris Ngige, Minister for labour

The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) and the Federal Government have reached an agreement, Labour and Employment Minister, Dr. Chris Ngige has disclosed.

Ngige in a communique issued at the end of a marathon reconciliation meeting he presided over in Abuja on Wednesday, said the parties agreed that the COVID-19 isolation centre now has sufficient provision of Personal Protective Equipment.

The association is thus expected to consult with her Executive Council with a view to calling off the strike within 24 hours of the agreement with the government.

Both parties also agreed on the provision of group life insurance for doctors and other healthcare workers and payment of death-in-service benefit to next- of -kin/beneficiaries.

The meeting noted that the FG had paid N9.3 billion to insurance companies for Life Group Insurance and payment of death benefits for health workers, adding that enrolment was by the submission of nominal rolls by the various health institutions which NARD had been mandated at a previous meeting to accomplish.

“Noting that the 2020 Appropriation Act was revised due to COVID-19 pandemic, the N4b appropriated for residency training under a wrong heading for Medical Residency Training is to be vired before expenditure,” the communique read.

“The process of amendment is, therefore, ongoing and is expected that this process and cash- backing will be through in two weeks.”

The communique was co-signed by Ngige; the Minister of State, Labour, Festus Keyamo (SAN); Minister of State, Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora; the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris; NARD President, Dr Sokomba Aliyu, and others.

On the payment of outstanding 2014, 2015, and 2016 arrears, the meeting recalled that it had been agreed that the issue would be further discussed post-COVID-19. Therefore, no agreement was breached.

The parties said they were satisfied with the N20b already appropriated in the 2020 COVID-19 budget which has been exhausted to N19b and praised the government for approving additional N8.9b to pay up the large chunk of the June 2020 COVID-19 allowance to all medical health workers.

“This has been cash-backed and the mandate sent to the Central Bank of Nigeria for payments to start with effect from September 9, 2020; this would bring the total disbursement to about N28b,” the communique pointed out.