The National Association of Resident Physicians (NARD) announced that it had postponed its planned strike and would instead focus on advancing its goals in talks with the federal government and other parties.

The guarantee was given in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday by the chairman of the association, Dr Dare Ishaya.

Ishaya says the choice was made on Wednesday at an extended meeting of the association’s National Executive Council (NEC).

“When we reviewed these issues yesterday, we discovered that the Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF) 2022 had been released and payment had been made on Tuesday.

“Most of our members have already received their alert, the question of the implementation of the new risk allocation, we have also learned that the Ministry of Finance has approved the release of funds for payment.

“After critically reviewing the situation, the NEC has decided that we should withdraw the ultimatum that has been issued to the government and also reaffirm our commitment to continue providing adequate and quality health services to the people of Nigeria,” he explained.

Ishaya, however, said the association’s NEC would continue ongoing negotiations with all relevant authorities to ensure that other unresolved issues are settled amicably.

“We do not want to plunge the Nigerian masses into unnecessary hardship as the hardships in the country are already enough for them, so we felt that we should not add to the suffering that the Nigerian masses are going through.

“Thus, the resolution of the NEC’s emergency meeting is that we should suspend our ultimatum and continue negotiations with the federal government until the other contentious issues are finally resolved.”

The group had repeatedly demanded that the federal government pay the new risk allowance and any arrears beginning December 22, 2021.

The National Wages, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC) circular with reference number SWC/S/04/S.218/11/406 dated December 22, 2021 contains information on the above allowance.

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Other difficulties are the payment of hopping arrears for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016 to deserving members and the subsequent adjustment of the minimum wage to members who have been refused since its adoption.

In addition, the NARD requested a rapid assessment of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) and other relevant allowances in accordance with the provisions of the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

The federal government was granted a two-week deadline by the NARD in July 2022 to begin paying the recently revised medical residency training fund and hazard pay, among other demands.

If their demands were not met at the end of the two weeks, the group threatened to continue the strike.

The ultimatum was nevertheless extended on August 21 for two more weeks, which ended on September 5.

They had started a two-month strike in 2021 over the lack of medical equipment in public tertiary hospitals and worker welfare, defying a labor court injunction to end it.

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