The Federal Government of Nigeria, on Monday, fought back against a bill that the National Assembly was considering in an effort to stop doctors from leaving the country in search of better opportunities abroad.
In response to the Federal Government’s inability to accept their demands, medical professionals working under the banner of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) will begin a 5-week warning strike on Tuesday.
The Federal Government had previously been given a two-week deadline by the doctors to meet their demands, which included an immediate 200 per cent increase in the CONMESS (Consolidated Medical Salary Structure) and the withdrawal of the bill by Hon. Ganiyu Johnson.
Additionally, the doctors are calling for the payment of the Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF) for 2023, the beginning of the payment of all salary arrears from 2014, 2015, and 2016, and the total elimination of bureaucratic restrictions on the immediate replacement of doctors who leave the system.
Senator Chris Ngige, the minister of labour and employment, spoke in Abuja at the conclusion of the extraordinary Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting, which was presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and held in the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Ngige took questions from reporters from the State House. He claimed the measure would violate current labour regulations in response to the physicians’ threat to embark on a five-day warning strike over what they viewed as an effort to hold medical and dental graduates in the nation for five years before issuing them a licence to practise.
The bill’s proponent in the House of Representatives, Lagos State Representative Ganiyu Johnson, claimed that the goal of the measure was to stop the huge migration of medical professionals from the nation.
“Nobody can declare that (doctors) would not acquire a practising licence until after five years,” Senator Ngige countered. It will be against the laws of the land, which have established the development of medical practise.
“I am a medical doctor. When you graduate from medical school, you go on a one-year apprenticeship called housemanship or internship, as the case may be. After your internship, you are now given a full licence because, prior to that, you had a provisional licence of registration with the Nigerian Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, MDCN.
“”So, after that intensive training, you were signed off by consultants, and you became a fully qualified medical doctor to attend to human beings and to work without any supervision again. Supervision is then voluntary. Resident doctors are those who have that full licence and want to acquire a postgraduate speciality, which is known as a surgeon, gynaecologist, obstetrician, paediatrician, internal medicine, or family medicine. So, they are doctors in training.
“The Bill in National Assembly cannot stop anybody from getting a full licence. That bill is a private members’ bill. In the National Assembly, they attend to private members’ bills and executive bills. Executive bills emanate from the Federal government into the National Assembly with a stamp of the executive”, Johnson added.
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