Home » FG rejects bill restricting doctors’ migration, calls strike unnecessary

FG rejects bill restricting doctors’ migration, calls strike unnecessary

by Hadiza Musa Yusuf
0 comment 2 minutes read

The Federal Government has deemed an ongoing bill in the National Assembly seeking to limit the migration of Nigerian doctors to be unworkable.

The announcement was made on Monday by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, during a press briefing following an extraordinary Federal Executive Council meeting chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the State House in Abuja.

The bill, sponsored by a member of the House of Representatives from Lagos State, Ganiyu Johnson, aims to address the mass exodus of medical practitioners from the country. Titled “A Bill for an Act to amend the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act,” it proposes a mandatory minimum of five years of practice in Nigeria for Nigerian-trained medical or dental practitioners before they are granted a full license.

Minister Ngige argued that the bill contradicts existing labor laws and emphasized that it cannot prevent doctors from obtaining a full license. 

He clarified that the bill is a private member’s bill and does not carry the executive’s endorsement. 

Ngige expressed his disagreement with the bill, stating, “That document is, as far as I am concerned, not workable. Ab initio, I don’t support it, and I will never support it.”

In response to the proposed legislation, the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) announced their plan to embark on a five-day warning strike. 

The association expressed their determination to resist any attempt to “enslave” Nigerian medical doctors. 

They also demanded a 200 percent increase in the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS), immediate implementation of CONMESS, domestication of the Medical Residency Training Act, and review of hazard allowances by state governments and private tertiary health institutions.

Ngige criticized the planned strike, stating that discussions were already underway between the government and the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), the umbrella body for doctors in Nigeria. 

He explained that the NMA had accepted a salary increase of between 25 and 30 percent across the board for its members. Ngige questioned the rationale behind NARD’s demand for a 200 percent increase, urging the NMA President to engage with them and avoid the need for a strike.

During the Federal Executive Council meeting, the Council approved the universal implementation of the Employee Compensation Act 2010, which replaces the old Employee Compensation Act, also known as the Workmen Compensation. 

The law, operated by the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, ensures compensation for workers injured, disabled, or deceased in the course of their work. It also provides for the education of children up to the age of 21. 


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