The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, in Osun State has called on the state governor, Rauf Aregbesola, to use part of the Paris Club refund to pay the salary arrears of medical doctors in the state.
The association made the call on Tuesday in a communique signed by its chairman, Tokunbo Olajumoke, and secretary, Olalekan Ajayi, after a meeting in Osogbo.
The NMA also urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to probe how Mr. Aregbesola spent the initial fund released to Osun by the federal government.
It urged the Osun State Government to commence the payment of full salaries and arrears and return to the negotiation table with doctors so as to ensure proper placement of doctors on their right salary structure as recommended by law.
The association said other states where the burden of unpaid salaries were not as bad as in Osun had come out with templates to ensure that outstanding arrears were cleared.
“We strongly appeal to all stakeholders to impress it upon the government by whatever means lawful and necessary to act conscientiously and show human face in the management of the fund,” the communique stated.
The association also lauded the Federal Government for the timely release of the second tranche of the Paris club refund to the states. The Osun NMA also commended the National President of the association, Mike Ogirima, and his team for their support and guidance.
“The Federal Government and her agencies especially the EFCC should as a matter of urgency monitor the disbursement of the fund by the Osun state government and probe the disbursement of the earlier funds,” the communique read further.
“We also appreciate our members for their unprecedented perseverance and consideration in the last 24 months. We thank the good people of Osun State for their understanding and continued perseverance.”
“We are aware that Osun state has received 6.314 billion naira as its own share of the second tranche of the Paris club refund. The state has also been receiving monthly allocation from the federal government.
“Despite accessing 11.744 billion naira as the first tranche of the Paris club refund, Osun State government has continued to pay our members varying percentages of less than 30 percent of their salaries in the last 24 months.
“The state government has also continued to withhold between four and six months salaries of our members without any justifiable reason and despite several appeals and continued engagement of the state government of Osun on the decadence in the health sector of the state, a lot has remained unattended to.
“That NMA and her affiliates have continued to engage the government of the day on such issues as salaries, state of healthcare delivery in the state and other pertinent issues of economic and health importance during these twenty four months of humiliation and poor treatment of our doctors and the entire state workers; doctors being the worst hit.”
However, the state government is still working out the modalities of the disbursement of the fund through the effort of the revenue allocation committee.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the committee is expected to meet on Wednesday to resolve the issues on who gets what from the N6.3 billion fund.
The governor’s media aide, Semiu Okanlawon, in a telephone conversation on Tuesday, said the government is faced with various demands from doctors, pensioners and other civil servants, saying that all their demands would be considered in the calculations that would determine the sharing formula.