The Lagos government says it did not issue any directive to reduce the monthly allowances of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) doctors from N75,000 to N15,000.
The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) had asked its members to commence a nationwide strike from August 2 over what it termed an irregular payment of salaries.
The doctors claimed that a directive by Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos governor, to stop enrolling interns, house officers, and NYSC members on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) among other things necessitated the strike.
But on Sunday, Ajibola Ponnle, the commissioner for establishments, training, and pensions, issued a statement denying claims that the state ordered a reduction of NYSC doctor’s allowances.
She also said the state government has noted the decision of the NARD to call out doctors on a strike from August 2.
“The decision followed the directive of its national executive committee meeting held in Umuahia on 30th July 2021,” Ponle said.
“The communique cited, among other grievances, a purported directive from the Lagos government, through the ministry of special duties, to reduce the monthly payment of NYSC doctors from N75,000 to N15,000, effective July 2021.
“This claim is false and misleading.”
Ponnle stated that certain resolutions reached at the 42nd national council on establishments (NCE) meeting held in Lagos from November 30 to December 4, 2020, necessitated the issuance of a circular.
She said Hakeem Muri-Okunola, the Lagos state head of service, issued the circular to communicate the decision taken at the federal level to public servants in Lagos.
The commissioner added that the directive was that internship programmes/NYSC doctors in the public service should no longer attract grade levels in the salary structure as the programmes form part of the training.
Describing NARD’s decision to embark on a strike as hasty, Ponnle appealed for restraint by the Lagos chapter of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) and Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).
“Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu remains committed to the welfare of state employees, particularly health workers who have shown commitment, bravery, and resilience in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.
“The state government, through the ministry of establishments, training, and pensions, will hold a stakeholders’ consultative meeting in the coming week on the implications of the decision taken by the National Council of Establishments on Internship, Housemanship and NYSC Doctors in the Civil/Public Service, which prompted this action.”
According to Ponnle, the affected stakeholders should wait for the conclusion of these engagements.
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