Health workers under the auspices of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) have vowed to resist any deceitful tactics being employed by government officials.
Speaking on Monday when he featured on African Independent Television (AIT) morning show: ”Kakaaki”, and monitored by our correspondent, JOHESU Chairman, Biobelemoye Josiah, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to avert any crisis that can cripple the sector in 2022.
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He said, “We are expecting that Mr President will do us well, because as a union we have heeded to his request that we should keep the health sector strike free for the period.
”We have done our part, and we expect that no matter the games that the Federal Ministry of Health is playing by trying to deny us our own right, the president has the power to direct that the committee’s job should be included in the budget before he signs it.
“I want to use this opportunity to call on Nigerians to plead on our behalf because we have been very patient, we have been very patriotic and we will not want a situation where all the efforts we have put to ensure that there is peace in the health sector to waste.
”Because if it is not put into the budget, next year – a few days from now, which when we go into next year, certainly, the health sector will not be as peaceful as we have tried to keep it. If they don’t put the adjusted CONHESS into the budget then they should be ready for us.”
According to Josiah, the unions are aware that there is a provision of N80 billion set aside to take care of the salary adjustment for health workers, adding that it would be wrong for the Federal Ministry of Health to “divert” the funds for other purpose.
Speaking further, the union leader noted that the unions have accepted the explanation offered by the Federal Government on the adjustments made towards the hazard allowance, warning that any attempt to favour one union against the other would be resisted.
He added, “At the peak of our agitation the office of the chief of staff to the president also intervened. We are aware that there was a provision of N80 billion made to take care of adjustment of salaries.
“It is our strong belief that even if they have not specifically stated that this amount is for CONHESS adjustment, I think there is a provision made already.
“Our money from what the committee has worked out is not beyond that N80 billion. So, for the president who appealed to us and whom we have also listened to, we have kept our deal; we have kept our gunpowder dry.
“We have not shot anyone, so the president should do us that favour by giving us that level of love that we have shown. We believe that there is provision already imputed in the budget but the federal ministry of health in its well – celebrated bias would want to say the money is not meant for us so that they can favour those who they want to favour.
“As for the approval of the hazard allowance it is not where we wanted to be but as far as we are concerned government pleaded that that is what they can afford for now.
“Inasmuch as we would have loved it to be higher than what we asked for we have decided to give peace a chance and see how it is implemented.
“Government has issued a circular and we will abide by it for now but where the government listens to any agitation and increases by one kobo, that must be given to us too. Where government wish to take our high level of understanding for granted, we will certainly them it is not weakness.”
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