President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Federal Ministry of Finance to release withheld salaries of resident doctors for the month of September and October 2021.
The Minister of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige, disclosed this to State House correspondents after a meeting with Buhari on Thursday.
He explained that the wages, which were seized on the premise of the no-work, no pay-rule following strikes embarked upon by the Joint Health Workers Union, have been approved by the President to be released to the health workers on compassionate grounds.
Responding to the grievances by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the minister asserted that since July 2021, a total of N52.1 billion revitalization fund has so far been released to workers in the university system in consonance with an MOA signed in December 2020 and expects that members of ASUU would have been adequately informed about the Federal Government’s efforts.
He further explained that payments were made following a nine-month industrial action embarked upon by the body. He insisted that the persisting altercation is the lack of knowledge by members of the payments and a renegotiation of the 2009 agreement involving conditions of service.
The minister, therefore, insisted that the recommendations still lie at the level of the Ministry of Education after which the Federal Government will take appropriate action.
This, according to him, does not amount to a refusal by the Federal Government to implement any agreement.
The National Executive Council (NEC) of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had earlier decided on a meeting for Saturday with zonal leaders of the union over an alleged failure of the Federal Government to implement agreements reached with the union in 2020.
Dr Ngige, therefore, appealed to ASUU to exercise patience with the government in order to reach a logical conclusion.