7th February, 2011
Lagos State Government has decried the latest strike by a faction of the medical doctors working in the public health institutions of the state ostensibly to press welfare demands and the re-instatement of a former Chairman of the Medical Guild, Dr. Ibrahim Olaifa. The government described the strike as a resort to blackmail and politicisation of the health of the people as Government has fulfilled its agreement with the doctors.
In a press statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant on Information, Mr. Hakeem Bello, the Government said contrary to the allegation that the State delayed the implementation of the new salary package as evidence of bad faith, the administration immediately set in motion, the processes for implementing the agreement which was concluded just as the doctors hastily called another strike. â€˜â€™It must be noted that our decision to implementÂ the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure must undergo due process as a matter of law,â€ he added.
According to him, â€œthe Constitution is very clear on the procedures for appropriation via the annual budget. In line with the relevant laws, our administration integrated the new proposal into the 2011 Budget of Lagos State. This was presented to the House of Assembly on Tuesday December 14, 2010. The Assembly passed the budget bill on Tuesday January 25, 2011â€™â€™.
To demonstrate his administrationâ€™s serious commitment to honouring the agreement with the medical doctors and indeed the implementation of a new enhanced well structured wage regime across board in the Stateâ€™s public service, Governor Babatunde Fashola signed it into law on Monday January 31, 2011 and directed that an Extra-Ordinary Session of the State Executive Committee be convened to discuss the memo on wages and to issue consequential directives.Â This was held on February 3, 2011 and the administration announced it has redeemed its pledge same dayâ€™â€™.
Identifying the immediate implication of the strike as the lives of the patients on critical care who recently returned to public hospitals again all in the selfish bid of a few ill-motivated men to coerce the Government to make concessions that may undermine the socio-economic stability of the state as it approached the April 2011 elections
â€œAfter a grueling three-months strike which led to avoidable deaths last year, we had thought no one who truly wishes our state well would think of sentencing members of the public in need of medical services to another crisis situation.â€
Our conclusion rests on the pledges we made and have executed since we invited the medical doctors to negotiate last year.â€
The State said in line with its traditional commitment to the welfare of all citizens who offer their labour to the government to enable it provide essential services to the people, the government of Lagos State already has in place a fair wage system for its medical doctors which reflects the philosophy of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS).
â€œIn 2007, the Lagos State Government put in place a salary structure for medical doctors that comprised the following for a Grade Level 10 officer: Monthly Basic Salary, Rent subsidy, Transport allowance, meal subsidy, Utility Allowance, LASG Furniture allowance, Hazard Allowance, Health Service allowance, LASG Clinical Allowance, Inducement allowance, Journal allowance and Non-Taxable Call Duty Allowance. The total take home pay for this category was N111, 000â€™â€™.
â€œFollowing the recent negotiations with the Medical Guild, we upgraded our salary structure for medical doctors by meeting the Medial Guildâ€™s demandsâ€™â€™, it stated.
The statement adds that the Guild had proposed that Lagos State should implement the scheme 100 per cent because a few states have done so which was a clear demonstration that the agitators neglected the fact that Nigeria is a federation of component states each with its own problems and burdens.
â€œIt should also be noted that as it is commonly said, the bigger the head, the greater the headaches, Lagos State has 11,862 health workers in its employment, the largest by any state in the federation. Lagos is the industrial and commercial capital of Nigeria, hence a lot of caution must be considered in taking a decision with high propensity to cause spirals of inflation and agitation across all sectors.
The State Government also stated that following the recent negotiations with the Medical Guild, it upgraded the salary structure for medical doctors by meeting the Medial Guildâ€™s demands.
The breakdown of what Lagos is offering is for the lowest level (level 10 (House Officers) who moved from 111,649.48 to 173,927.33, level 12 moved from 127,965.07 to 225,519.33 (highest step on that level), level 13 moved from 142,333.36 to 261,107.25 (highest step), level 14 moved from 156,768.67 to 304,235.50 (highest step), level 17 (generalist) from 246,636.91 to 534,594.66 (highest step), level 17 (highest level consultant) from 353,647.33 to 683,671.60.
The Government said It is rather unfortunate that the Medical Guild does not want to be guided by law in its agitation for the review of the dismissal of its former Chairman, Dr. Ibrahim Olaifa.
It adds that Dr. Ibrahim Olaifa was employed by the Government and one of the conditions of employment is that as a civil servant, he is barred from giving information to the general public on matters concerning subjects under his purview unless so authorized and in the particular instance, Dr. Olaifa applied for sick leave and while on sick leave, he was seen on television stoking industrial action. A Personnel Management Board was subsequently set up and to appear before which Dr. Olaifa requested legal representation. He thereafter challenged the subsequent outcome in court.
â€œSince this case is still in court, it would be subjudicial to take any action that might run in contempt of the Court. The Lagos State Government, as a law abiding institution shall act as the Court pleases!â€™â€™
â€œIf indeed, there is no logic and substance in the rush to strikes, Lagosians are bound to wonder and ponder what then is going on? One of the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party for the House of Representatives in Oyo State is the same Dr. Ibrahim Olaifa who is at war with the good people of Lagos State. He apparently has vowed to use his influence over the Medical Guild to paralyse our medical centres till the governorship polls hold in April, cause public anger and disaffection against our government to facilitate an ignoble fantasy of PDP victory in Lagos Stateâ€™â€™.
The State Government adds that Lagos is one of the states where there should be no strike because concrete steps have been taken to implement the agreement with the doctors, stressing that the Guild has no rational basis to plunge the Stateâ€™s hospitals into darkness and pain yet again.
It appealed to Lagosians to stand by the people-centred administration of Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, (SAN) in its resolve to ensure a speedy checkmating of the criminal sabotage veiled as industrial dispute, assuring that it shall never stop working to give Lagosians the Brighter Rewarding Future they all desire and truly deserve.