The Federal Medical Centre, Owo, has explained why hundreds of outsourced employees of the hospital remained unpaid for 20 months, despite budgetary submissions for their payments.
The Medical Director, Liasu Ahmed, told PREMIUM TIMES, in a telephone interview on Wednesday that the non-release of funds by the federal government was responsible for the non-payment.
He explained that the protesting workers were not direct employees of the hospital, but were employed by contractors handling outsourced labour in the hospital.
The employees, early on Wednesday, protested at the gates of the hospital, locking out medical staff and visitors alike to demand the payment of their salaries.
PREMIUM TIMES independently gathered that although the workers are being owed for 20 months, only receiving their last salary since January last year, the contractors had actually refused to pay the workers two months pay which they had reportedly collected from the federal government.
According to the Mr. Ahmed, it was the federal government’s policy to outsource such jobs as those cleaners, security men and others low-level responsibilities.
“It is really not the fault of the hospital, but because funds had not been released by the federal government to pay the workers,” Mr. Ahmed explained.
“We have made several submissions to the federal government, even at the budget defence at the National Assembly, but we are yet to get the funds. We can only pay the contractors when the federal government releases the funds.”
The medical director explained further that because the expenditure for the payment of the contractors was captured under the service wide votes, it had been difficult to get the funds released as and when due to the contractors.
“The National Assembly has recommended that the item should henceforth be placed on the budget line, to ensure prompt release of the funds,” he said.
He said efforts were underway to ensure ‘certain palliatives’ were evolved to alleviate the pains of the workers.
“We are already resolving the problems; that is why they opened the gates, we believe that soon they will be paid,” Mr. Ahmed added.