… As NMA, Govt Resolve Issues

Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has directed the payment of the salary of the state’s striking doctors after he interfaced with their leadership at his office on Tuesday.

The doctors were led to the meeting with the Governor by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Pharm.(Mrs) Foluke Aladenola, and the Nigeria Medical Association State Chairman, Dr (Mrs) Stella Adegbehingbe.

Governor Akeredolu said the stalemate that led to their industrial action was as a result of the lack of understanding from a section of their association which was encouraging segregation of the workforce in terms of payment of salaries.

He assured them that the Commissioner for Finance will commence the process of payment of their salary with immediate effect.

“As regards the salaries of those who have not been paid, I can assure you that the money is intact, and it has been kept in an escrow account. But you need to know that we paid all but one of your salary arrears of seven months that we met,” the Governor said.

While explaining that all stakeholders in the health sector in the state must come to a mutual understanding with the government, the Governor said he is not happy with the financial situation of the State.

“I thank God that we can come together as brothers, sisters and stakeholders to talk about the Ondo Project. We all have fundamental roles and responsibilities to our people. The only difference is the distribution of positions as given by God.

“My role cannot be more important than yours as doctors because I cannot save lives but you do. Honestly, if language permits, you are not unhappier than me about what we have been made to contend with financially in the state. We know it is a global issue but we are more concerned about how it affects us.

“The most painful is that we now borrow money to pay salaries because it got to that point where we cannot allow our workers to be seen as suffering due to no fault of ours. But if it is to bend backwards to keep our workers afloat, we shall not hesitate and that is why we are reviewing our earlier stand that we would not borrow to pay salaries. The danger, however, remains that we are eating our future as more goes into the recurrent than the capital as it were,” Governor Akeredolu stressed.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Pharm. Aladenola said they were meeting the Governor after series of meetings.

“Those meetings had assessed the situation during the strike and analysed the need for all srakeholders to work together. They have reset fully and have also given their words not to embark of strike anymore having also realised the inconveniences that society faces as a result of such actions,” She said.

The Permanent Secretary appealed that salaries of those affected in the National Association of Government and General Medical and Dental Practitioners (NAGGMDP) and the Association of Resident Doctors(ARD) be paid.

The NMA State Chairman, Dr (Mrs) Stella Adegbehingbe, reiterated the commitment of the Permanent Secretary, promising to henceforth put the welfare of residents of the state at heart.

Richard Olatunde
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Ondo State.
September 14, 2021.