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FG spent over ₦2 billion on free meals propramme in Adamawa – Minister




FG spent over ₦2 billion on free meals propramme in Adamawa – Minister
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FG spent over ₦2 billion on free meals propramme in Adamawa – Minister

The Federal Government (FG), has spent not less than ₦2 billion on free feeding for pupils in Adamawa, under the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP).

Hajia Sadiya Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, gave the statistic during the hand over of additional 50,000 branded quality feeding utensils to Adamawa Government on Saturday, in Yola.

Farouq, represented by Dr. Umar Bindir, National Coordinator, Social Investment Programme, said that.

NHGSFP was one of the four clusters under the Social Investment Programme (NSIP).

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She explained that the Federal Government was expending a total of ₦226 million monthly on the school feeding programme in Adamawa.

She said so far, more than nine million pupils had registered and were benefiting from the programme nationwide.

“Over ₦2 billion expended by the Federal Government in Adamawa, under the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP).

“I m here today, to represent Mr President, to hand over an additional 50,000 branded quality feeding utensils to the Adamawa State Government, for use in feeding pupils under the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP).

“So far, the NHGSFP has recorded over nine million pupils that are being fed by over 100,000 cooks/vendors nationwide,” Sadiya said.

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FG spent over ₦2 billion on free meals propramme in Adamawa – Minister

According to the minister, the Programme, launched in 2016, is well grounded in Adamawa and that so far, 1,286 schools have been enrolled, with 162,782 children being fed, using 2,417 cooks/vendors.

She explained that 182,000 utensils were previously distributed in Adamawa, and that Saturday’s programme was a continuation of one of the several strategic plans on the programme, aimed at ensuring pupils’ hygiene and safety in consuming the free meals.

In his address, Gov. Ahmadu Fintiri, who was represented by Mr. Elijah Tumba, Commissioner for Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Re-settlement, thanked the Federal Government for the laudable initiative.

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Fintiri said that according to available records, the feeding programme had increased the number of pupils enrolment into schools across the state.

The governor said his administration was always ready to partner with the Federal Government in moving the educational sector forward.

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Strike: Doctors not paid were illegally employed, We’re not owing doctors – FG




Strike: Doctors not paid were illegally employed, We’re not owing doctors - FG
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Strike: Doctors not paid were illegally employed, We’re not owing doctors – FG

•Says those not paid were illegally employed

•Laments disparity in payment of foreign, Nigerian doctors

•Says some states pay foreign doctors five times higher than Nigerian counterparts

The Federal Government insisted yesterday that resident doctors who were not paid were only those illegally recruited by Chief Medical Directors, CMDs, without necessary approval.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, who stated when he received chairman of the Federal Character Commission, FCC, Dr Muheeba Dankaka, and other federal commissioners who paid him a courtesy visit in his office, also expressed concern over the disparity in payment of foreign doctors by some states, warning that such preferential treatment does not encourage national unity and loyalty.

“You people know the mandate for recruitment. The Federal Ministry involved will give approval. The office of the Head of Service of the Federation will give approval. Budget Office will give approval. These three approvals come to you in Federal Character Commission for final approval and issuing of compliance letter. But in the case of these resident doctors, their letters were issued without any of these approvals.

“The CMDs who did that said they thought they could pay them through Government Integrated Financial Management Information System, GFMIS, platform, an ad hoc platform used for sundry expenses. Personnel costs have been removed from GFMIS. That is the problem.

”Every payment for personnel costs is done under Integrated Personal and Payroll Information System, IPPIS. But, now a waiver has been given. It will come to you in the FCC to give compliance certificate.

“We explained to them that it is not a one bus stop thing. It cannot be done in one day. They said no, we are going on strike. You go on strike to force government to regularize an irregularity. It is not done.”“Ngige disclosed that the request for compliance letter would be sent to the FCC by the Federal Ministry of Health before the end of the week and urged the commission to give the request expeditious attention.

Strike: Doctors not paid were illegally employed, We’re not owing doctors – FG

On preferential treatment of foreign doctors by states, Ngige said some states in Nigeria employ foreign doctors and pay them five times higher than they pay their Nigerian counterparts.

He charged the FCC to use its constitutional mandate to promote national unity and loyalty, rather than concentrate efforts only on the public sector, especially in job recruitment.

He also appealed to the commission to ensure equitable distribution of amenities, infrastructure and social services in the country.

The minister said: “The constitution did not say that you do only cases in the public sector. There are areas we need you to look into especially where the constitution is silent.

“We have cases where doctors are employed from Egypt, Cuba and Pakistan and they are paid five times what the Nigerian doctor will get if you convert the foreign exchange they use to pay them.

“But in this country, I was here when some of my teachers left from South East to go and teach in the North East at a time. They left because we had enough down there to export to our brothers. They were paid with our local currency and given some other incentives, which at the end of the day make the economy of those states to be alright.

“Whether you like it or not, if some people are poor in Nigeria in the poverty index rating, when the Nigerian poverty index is being taken, it will be an aggregate, including those places. If it is health, when the health parameters are being taken, it is for the whole. So, FCC can go into that area.”

Ngige urged the FCC to persuade state governments to open up and advertise those jobs, so that Nigerians could come from any part of the country to fill the gap.

He further advised the commission to be revolutionary and do new things, using its broad mandate, established by Section 14 (3) of the 1999 Nigerian constitution (as amended).

“Our constitution is the Supreme law of the land. And any law made by anybody, whether national and state assembly that is in conflict with constitution is void. So, you people have a strong mandate from the supreme law of the land. I think you should help us build a new country.

“A country where we will not be talking about hatred because it is some of these perceptions that cannot even be separated from reality that breeds all the discontent and hate speeches we see.

“We must strive to unite our country. All these North and South, East and West, they are artificial geographical demarcations. One body that can unite our country is FCC. As you are here now, you are no longer politicians.

“We count on your chairman that wherever she goes to fly the umbrella of justice, freedom and fair play. We need it for Nigerian workers. We need it for Nigerian people. If we distribute schools well, people will go to school in the areas where there are no schools now. The almajiris will get western education. When we educate people, we have liberated them from poverty and ignorance which breeds all these security issues all over,” Ngige said.

He blamed the economic situation which has eaten into individual pockets for worsening labour dispute issues in the country, adding that labour unions were now remembering agreements they signed with the previous adminstartions, some dating back to 2009 and even 2002.

He said: “The President said we are alive to our responsibilities and we do not owe any worker salaries. The president is strong on that and that is why we have not retrenched anybody. He is also strong on the fact that government is a continuum.

“If they now remember that the previous administration owed them 2009, we will not say no. we will say yes. But we will pay you based on our capacity to pay and ability to pay.

“Those allowances can be stretched and we pay you in tranches. That is what we have been doing with ASUU, NASU, and JOHESU.”

Earlier the Chairman of FCC, Dankaka noted that the commission was established to promote the unity of the country and ensure strong and indivisible nation, fostering sense of belonging, fairness, equality and justice.

She said they have the mandate to ensure the fair distribution of infrastructure, amenities and social service, assuring that the commission under her would discharge its mandate in a manner to eschew the feeling of marginalization from any quarters of the country.

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AHAPN urges FG to develop single-spine salary structure for healthcare practitioners




AHAPN urges FG to develop single-spine salary structure for healthcare practitioners
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AHAPN urges FG to develop single-spine salary structure for healthcare practitioners

By Amarachukwu EgwuAgha, Abakaliki

Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN) has urged the Federal Government (FG) to develop single-spine salary structure for healthcare practioners.

The association made the call in a statement jointly signed by it’s national chairman
Mr Olabode Ogunjemiyo and national secretary Mr Oladele Obikoya and made available to newsmen in Abakaliki.

The group also urged the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) to embrace modern medicine and to jettison ‘medieval’ era practice

AHAPN noted that the single-spine salary structure for practising health professionals in Nigeria would usher in permanent industrial harmony in the health sector.

The association frowned at the prolonged professional rivalry between NMA and other health workers under the aegis of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and appealed to the FG to initiate a single-spine salary regime for all health workers.

The initiative the association noted would be based on the job evaluation report in the health sector submitted in February 2008 by the inter agency committee set up by FG on the matter.

AHAPN urges FG to develop single-spine salary structure for healthcare practitioners

The statement added that the report prescribed a salary relativity ratio of 10 is to 8.57 is to 7.12 between medical doctors and pharmacists/other health professionals and others respectively.

The association said that the single-spine salary model had been adopted by the government of Ghana for their health workforce and stressed that it has engendered peace, harmony and stability in the sector with the attendant better health indices.

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The association condemned the reaction of the NMA to the recent 15 days ultimatum and commencement of an indefinite strike action notice by JOHESU to FG.

The statement alleged that NMA had described some of the demands of JOHESU as inappropriate and capable of violating existing agreement between it and the FG which could plung the health sector into needless labour unrest.

The demands included; upward review of the Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS), non-discriminatory hazard allowance, implementation of consultancy cadre for pharmacists.

The association also demanded for the promotion of hospital-based consultants to Chief Executive Officers of tertiary hospitals.

The statement read: “The NMA is challenging the position of JOHESU on residency training programme for its members and creation of Consultant Pharmacist cadre.

“NMA alleges that the demand for the implementation of the Pharmacist consultant cadre is a breach of the ruling of the National Industrial Court which places the authority of such creation in the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH).

“The association in debunking NMA’s false claims set the records straight with supporting documents from the FG and also stated the existence of the Pharmacist consultant cadre in the public service of countries like U.K, USA, France, Australia and neighboring Ghana.

“The NMA’s opposition is contained in a letter to Dr Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, dated Sept. 7, 2021 and jointly signed by the President, Prof. Innocent Ujah, and General Secretary, Dr Phillips Ekpe.”

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It added that the NMA had contended the positions of JOHESU claiming that the association was not aware of any residency training programme in teaching hospitals, specialist hospitals and federal medical centres.

The pharmacists which vowed commitment to enthronment of industrial peace in the health sector urged the medical doctors to jettison ‘medieval’ era practice of the profession and embrace modern medicine anchored on teamwork for patients’ best outcome.

“The NMA should understand that orthodox health care practice is not indigenous to Nigeria.

“Therefore, its modus operandi in the country cannot be dictated and driven by the whimsical and capricious proclivities of NMA contrary to what is obtainable at the global arena,” the document said.

The statement portrayed NMA’s alleged denial of residency programme for pharmacists as mere deception, as it cited the particular circular via the FMoH that gave approval for the residency training of pharmacists.

“The ministry of health had on Sept. 22, 2015 approved the use of its facilities as sites for residency training for the students of the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists.

“The approval was made vide a circular, reference number FDS/231/04/11/68 signed by the Permanent Secretary.

“It is important that NMA be reminded that residency programmes are not only applicable to medicine but also Pharmacy and Nursing in other climes notably USA.

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“In the USA, physicians, pharmacists and nurses undergo residency training where you either pay the facilities to undergo the training or you receive remuneration as salary and you are thereafter bonded for a period.

” In adopting the above model in Nigeria, emigration of residents in medicine will be stemmed.

“Perhaps, NMA imagines that medicine is superior to every other profession. NMA should appreciate that modern healthcare provision is anchored on teamwork by the different professionals with the patient at the centre of the care matrix.

“Besides, NMA should note that professions exist to serve humanity and new ones are emerging in response to the activities of human existence.

“Everyone cannot belong to a single profession; it is appropriate to state that the bottom line of all care efforts in the patient care chain is to treat the patient to get healed from ailment.

“Doing this, requires the use of drugs which are tiny molecules prepared, handled and managed by the pharmacist and it remains the most potent weapon in disease treatment and patient care/management,” the statement added.

The association noted that pharmacists remained one of the most exposed professionals in terms of risk in the hospital environment as they were exposed to risk of infection during patients counseling, chemical hazards, physical and psychological agents.

The group canvassed for parity in determining hazard allowance of all health professionals in the ongoing negotiation with FG.

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