The Nigerian health sector is heading for another crisis as the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) has decried the alleged discrepancies in the COVID-19 hazard allowance for workers in the industry.
National President of the body, Comrade Josiah Biobelemoye, who spoke to reporters in Abuja on Tuesday alleged that the Federal Ministry of Health reneged on the uniform percentage agreed with the professionals and union in computing the special package.
According to him, the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with government specified 50 per cent of the Consolidated Basic Salary as Special COVID-19 Hazard and Inducement Allowance for all cadres of health workers in the federal teaching hospitals and medical centres.
Biobelemoye reckoned that it was the position of the union that the stipend be flat since ‘hazard’ does not discriminate, adding that other payments could vary. “Now, the ministry of health has changed even the percentage we agreed that should cut across every worker in the system,” he said.
“When we say health workers, we mean all those that have been employed by the health system via the health ministry, hospitals and other parastatals. We expected that the percentage should be uniform. If you cannot give a higher percentage to the lower grade levels, then make the percentage uniform. That was the agreement we signed,” he added.
Continuing, he said: “Instead of using Paragraph 1(a) of the agreement, the ministry of health, instead, used Paragraph 1(d), which is meant for a different purpose and intent.”
To forestall the imminent industrial crisis, the JOHESU president urged the ministry of health to implement the pact to the letter. He confirmed that the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry has summoned a meeting for the resolution of the matter.