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Minister unaware doctors are paid N5,000 hazard allowance

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Chris-Ngige

Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige says he was unaware resident doctors are being paid N5,000 as hazard allowance until the outbreak of COVID-19.

This revelation is coming as the strike of the National Association of Resident Doctors over federal government’s failure to pay outstanding remunerations enters its eight day.

Ngige, who was appointed to serve in two terms under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration made the statement in a live programme on Nigeria Television Authority on Wednesday.

According to the minister, he confessed that the news came to him as a surpise because the last time the hazard allowance was reviewed was in 2009.

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“I didn’t even know it was still N5,000 until we started COVID and when I mentioned it in the economic sustainability committee, both the minister of finance and the vice-president said N,5000 for somebody working in a health sector? It is criminal. The vice-president is a lawyer, finance minister is an accountant.

“They told me: you have to do something. Please we leave it to you. I convened the meeting immediately in my house under COVID and we gave them a special COVID hazard allowance that was up to 1,000 percent of N5,000,” he said.

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The minister disclosed that after making necessary adjustment, some physicians were rewarded bountifully for their commitment and service.

He noted that some doctors went home with N600,000, which amounted to N200,000 a month and some N300,000.

“My professor friend and classmate told me it was hazard that protected him through ASUU strike, that he got N350,000 every month.

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“So government paid N32 billion for three months. What was in the COVID budget for it was N20 billion. We started paying and we couldn’t go round, and I had to make a special case, fought in the economic sustainability committee because there is no money and minister of finance had to go outside the COVID budget of N500 billion to get another N12 billion for the payment. That is N32 billion,” he said.

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