The Federal Government of Nigeria on Tuesday raised the hazard allowances of junior and health workers by 350 and 600 per cents respectively.
The development was announced by Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige after a meeting between the Federal Government and representatives of all professional bodies and unions in the health sector at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Ngige said the Federal Government has agreed in principle to increase the retirement age of doctors and other health workers from 60 to 65 years and 70 years for consultants.
He stated that the government representatives led by the Minister of State for Budget and Planning gave a counter-offer to the earlier submissions made by the Nigerian Medical Association and affiliate associations and the Joint Health Sector Unions.
"The Government side gave them that offer based on the reality that we have on ground, that the economy is not doing very well and the capital component of the budget is actually being funded on borrowing. The earnings of the Government have also drastically gone down.
"So, they are going back to their people with the government offer and they asked for two weeks adjournment to enable them to conclude consultation with their members and report back to us," Ngige said in a statement issued by the Deputy Director of Press and Public
Relations, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Charles Akpan, on Wednesday in Abuja.
The statement said the meeting agreed that the offers be left open until both parties go back for consultations with their members and return in two weeks time for further negotiations.
The minister stated that the federal government spent N31billion for three months on health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"But we moved from the N5000 hazard allowance per month, which was long forgotten until COVID-19 struck. During COVID-19, the Government spent about N31billion for three months. So, I think the Government side has offered things that are very reasonable, increasing the former positions of junior and senior health workers. Junior workers had 350 per cent rise and senior workers had about 600 per cent," the statement said.
The Nation reported that Tuesday's meeting was attended by Ministers of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire; Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora; Clem Agba (Budget and Planning) and Festus Keyamo (Labour and Employment).
The Permanent Secretary of Federal Ministry of Health, Alhaji Abdulaziz Abdulahi and his Labour and Employment counterpart, Peter Yerima Tarfa were equally in attendance.