The Federal Government is yet to commence the implementation of the increased hazard allowance for health workers seven months after its announcement, The PUNCH reports.
The Federal Government, in December 2021, increased the hazard allowances applicable to health workers in its healthcare facilities across the country. The increment was contained in a circular with reference SWC/S/04/S.218/11/406, dated December 22, 2021, from the Chairman of the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission.
It read in part, “Concerning the review of the hazard allowance applicable to health workers in the services of the Federal Hospitals, Medical Centres, and Clinics in Ministries, Departments, and Agencies. “The hazard allowance was reviewed to a flat rate that ranges from N5,000 to between N15,000 and N34,000 for health workers on the CONHESS salary structure, while doctors on CONMESS had theirs reviewed from N5,000 to between N32,000 and N40,000.”
However, health workers in the country confirmed to our correspondent that the reviewed hazard allowance has not been implemented. A hazard allowance is additional compensation for workers who are performing an exceedingly dangerous or physically uncomfortable job.
The Publicity and Social Secretary, National Association of Resident Doctors, Dr. Alfa Yusuf, said, “The hazard allowance has been promised since last year and nothing has been said about it. We have lost a lot of our members to various hazards, and the government is not doing anything about it. “Our demands are long overdue, and in two weeks, we are going to look at the progress made so far and take a final position; and we can’t guarantee industrial harmony.”
Also, the National President of the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals, Dr. Obinna Ogbonna, said, “We thought we were going to receive the new allowance when we were paid in July, but we have not been paid,” Ogbonna said.
Meanwhile, a former President of the Nigerian Medical Association, Prof. Mike Ogirima, urged the government to implement the increased hazard allowance as promised. “It’s unfortunate that the Federal Government has not fulfilled its promise months after the circular was released. I hope the government will do the needful and implement the agreement reached.”
Also reacting, a professor of medicine at the University of Ilorin, Emmanuel Okoro, berated the Federal Government for not living up to expectations saying, “The government on its own, said the N5, 000 hazard allowance was poor and reviewed it and hasn’t paid since last year. Then, they said they were going to wait for the budget. The budget came, and they said they would wait till they start implementation in March. July has passed, yet nothing has happened. “The resident doctors have given the government two weeks to address their demands, and I hope they meet them to avert disruption in healthcare services.”
Efforts to reach the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, proved abortive as his number was not reachable, and he has yet to respond to a text message sent to him as of the time of filing this report.