ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
The government of Bayelsa State has said that henceforth only medical doctors and other health practitioners who actually carry out call duty services in its health institutions will be paid call duty allowances.
The Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, made this known on Friday when he granted audience to the leadership of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Bayelsa chapter, in Government House, Yenagoa.
He argued that it was unfair and unjust for people to earn what they did not work for in any organisation.
He clarified that call duty allowance should not be restricted to only medical doctors.
He stressed that all health workers including nurses who render call duty services were entitled to the special allowance.
Ewhrudjakpo said government would apply the principle of justice, fairness and equity in the payment of the allowance, emphasising that allowing every health personnel to benefit as proposed by the workers union would amount to “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”
To this end, the Deputy Governor urged the NANNM and the management of state-owned health institutions to forward the monthly roster of those on call duty to enable government to include the allowance to their salaries.
On the issue of building more health infrastructure, he reiterated his belief that the solution to the country’s health challenges did not lie in building gigantic hospitals and clinics but in devoting more resources in developing human resources for health.
Ewhrudjakpo, however, informed them that the psychiatric hospital project in Ogbia was making appreciable progress and would be completed before the end of the first term of the Governor Douye Diri-led administration.
He stated: “As a government, we do not believe that people should earn what they did not work for. Rather, those who are working should be the ones to earn that allowance. We know those who are qualified to receive the call duty allowance.
“I know there is always a call duty roster and we are simply saying you should give us the roster to enable government prepare and pay you your monthly salaries. We cannot pay Call Duty Allowance to everybody.
“Those who are not doing call duty including doctors in the ministry should not be entitled to it. Call duty allowance is not for only medical doctors; it is also for nurses who are on call duty. So we are aware of that circular and it is being addressed.
“What we are saying is that those who are on shift duty, which is the normal roster for nurses, should be entitled to shift duty allowance. We believe in giving Paul what is due Paul and giving Peter what is due Peter. It will be unfair to rob Peter in the name of paying Paul.”
Earlier, the state Chairman of National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Comrade Andabai Mbeleakpo-Sonia, lauded the present administration for its workers friendly disposition and the far-reaching declaration it made during this year’s May Day celebration.
Andabai, however, appealed to the state government to urgently address the issue of shortage of nurses in the state, which she noted, was encouraging the growth of quackery in the nursing profession.
The NANNM Chairman also requested the inclusion of specialty nurses in the payment of call duty allowance, renovation of dilapidated health facilities, employment of more lecturers in the Faculty of Nursing, Niger Delta University and support for the 2022 International Nurses Week Celebration, among others.