NARD brain drain
The logo for the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).

Strike: Resident Doctors Reject FG’s 25% Salary Increase

The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has rejected the 25 per cent increase made to the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure by the Federal Government.

The Joint Health Sector Unions also said it is studying if the increase of the Consolidated Health Salary Structure will have an impact on other allowances of its members.

The FG had on July 25, 2023, approved the review of CONMESS and CONHESS for medical and dental doctors, and other healthcare workers in the public service, respectively.

The reviews were contained in circulars titled, “Review of CONMESS,” and “Review of CONHESS,” signed by the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, Ekpo Nta.

The review took effect on June 1, 2023.

CONMESS is the salary structure for medical and dental officers in the federal public service while CONHESS is the salary structure for their counterparts in other fields including pharmacy, medical laboratory science, and nursing, among others.

JOHESU is the umbrella body of health workers’ unions and associations, including the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals, Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, and Senior Staff Association of Universities Teaching Hospitals Research Institutes and Associated Institutions

The commission said the decision to review CONMESS was taken following agreements reached with the Nigerian Medical Association, and stakeholders at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.

The commission also said the review of CONHESS was made following the review of the health sector salary structure.

Commenting on the review of the salary, the President of NARD, Dr. Emeka Orji said, the 25 per cent is not what the association is demanding from the government.

“The members of the association say they do not want that percentage increase, the increase is meant to be based on data, we have provided the data, which has to do with the inflation rate, between when the CONMESS was approved and now that there is an increase in fuel and foreign exchange.”

Commenting on the review, the National Vice Chairman of the Joint Health Sector Unions, Obinna Ogbonna said, the review is supposed to be an allowance.

“About six months ago, there was this peculiarity allowance given to those on  Consolidated Public Service Salary Structure, so this is a version of it, but the government decided not to call it peculiarity allowance because the law of giving that allowance was stipulated only for CONPSS, but you cannot say peculiarity allowance for CONHESS and CONMESS, that is why they call it a review in order not to create another misunderstanding and crisis.

“The percentage is already in the public domain which is 25 per cent, which is only on the basic, but we are still trying to study the circular to see what impact it will have on other allowances, we will have to find out if it is going to be taxable and if it is, the benefit will be eroded. So, that is one of the things the organised labour is talking about that if there could be a tax-free period for some categories of people, it could assist them,” Ogbonna said.