Members of the striking National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) are to return to the government treasury about N308 million wrongly paid to them as emoluments in the last four months by the government, chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Healthcare Service, Hon. Tanko Sununu, said on Thursday.
Sununu who spoke to newsmen after about five hours closed door meeting with officials of the Resident Doctors and officials of the Federal Ministry of Health as well as the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) said officials of the association informed the meeting that despite their efforts, there were delays in furnishing them with an account number to which the money will be paid.
The lawmaker, who is also a medical doctor, said in view of the serious allegations from NARD against MDCN, the House Committee decided to set up a committee to forensically audit all the activities of the council in the last five years.
The committee had summoned the MDCN Registrar, Dr. Tajudeen Sanusi, to answer queries on discrepancies in the payment of House Officers and why some where paid up to three times while others received nothing at all, among other issues.
Sununu said the N308 million had been with NARD, who have been following the relevant organs of government to make sure that the money is paid back to the government treasury, but could not because the account was not given to them.
“At this meeting, we resolved and the account number was forwarded to the President of the Resident Doctors for onward transmission to the members so that the money can be paid back to the government account. We also agreed that because 1003 members of the association were not paid, the amount to be returned by over 500 Resident must also be paid directly to the members who are yet to be paid,” he said.
He said “We all agreed that the Ministry of Health has been supportive of the review of hazard allowance of all health workers in Nigeria. We have agreed that a memorandum will be signed today after their meeting with the Ministry of Labour and Employment.”
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Abdulaziz Abdullahi, said the ministry was fully in support of the decisions taken by the House Committee, and assured that hazard allowances for all medical officers will be reviewed.
Speaking earlier before the closed door meeting, President of NARD, Dr. Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, complained that Dental House Officers were mostly affected by the non-payment, adding that while most of them did not received their pay at all, some of their medical counterparts received payment up to three times.
MDCN Registrar, Dr. Tajudeen Sanusi, said he was not aware of the issue of double payment for any category of House Officers and that the issue was only brought to his notice on Thursday, stressing that the issue may have arisen due to the submission of a second list to IPPIS.