UNTH is not indebted to Resident Doctors --CMD

By Tony Edike on 05/12/2018

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The management of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, UNTH, Enugu, has denied the allegation by the Association of Resident Doctors that it owed its members arrears of salaries, saying no fund was released in favour of the payment of the trainee medical doctors

It described as nonsensical claims by the Resident Doctors that the fund meant for their salary had been tampered with, pointing out that it was impossible for the management to tamper with any such money that was not in her custody but domiciled with the CBN.

Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr. Christopher Amah, who made this known while reacting to the protest by the trainee doctors, explained that contrary to claims by the aggrieved doctors, the so called funds released to the hospital in October was not meant for their salaries as the resident doctors have since July 2018 been captured & enrolled into the IPPIS (Integrated Personnel Payment Information System) electronic payment platform and receive their salaries through the IPPIS platform directly from the office of  Accountant General of the Federation through the CBN. Besides there was no information or/and directives whatsoever, written or verbal, from federal ministry of finance or health regarding any such claimed release. 

For purposes of emphasis, he said, since the Resident doctors were enrolled into the IPPIS, since July this year, the hospital had nothing to do with payment of their salaries and wondered why they should resort to blackmailing the management.

Dr. Amah said: “Sometime in April this year the Resident Doctors claimed that as a fall out from their strike the Federal Government promised to pay them whatever they demanded. They claimed that N100 million was released to them by the Federal Ministry of Finance but the management did not receive any document or directive from anywhere to support such a claim, instead we found out that the hospital's overall annual personnel cost appropriation (meant for payment of salaries of all categories of staff in the hospital) has been depleted by the same amount and the money moved to the GIFMIS electronic platform from where non regular staff salaries are paid. Overall there was no additional one kobo added to our appropriation for the year. 

“The residents came up again in October to say another N100 million has been released to them, and we did observe another shift of fund from our overall annual personnel cost allocation to the GIFMIS platform as part of the monthly release for payment of salaries nonregular staff, excluding resident doctors who are by now enrolled and paid on the IPPIS platform. Again we did not receive any official information or/and directives regarding this observation from any where. And no additional one kobo inflow was observed with respect to our overall annual personnel cost funds. 

“By November, after payment of October salary, it became clear that there was not enough funds to pay all the various categories of staff their statutory salaries. Yet resident doctors were claiming N100m was released for them apart from their regular salaries and insisting management  should share the claimed amount to them, even when the hospital is not neceasarily owing them anything. These are all verifiable facts and there is no question of anybody hiding anything, as all cash inflows and outfows are published on the two electronic platforms (IPPIS and GIFMIS) online and available for anybody to see."

Advising the resident doctors to seek clarification from the relevant ministries, the CMD, stressed that “if the Federal Government released fund to Resident Doctors as claimed, they should get the warrant indicating the release as well as clear cut directives as per the fund's application.

“Again there was no kobo added to our overall annual personnel cost appropriation,” he insisted, explaining that “the money the trainee doctors are claiming to have been released for them is money that is being moved from the overall personnel fund meant for paying all the categories of staff of the hospital.”

On the report that the protesting Resident Doctors shut down the hospital, Dr. Amah described it as fallacious saying the protest in the first place is by only a faction of the ARD  and "is politically motivated".

"The reasonable ones did not join them and there was no appreciable negative impact on the activities of the hospital, as even open heart surgeries were being conducted in the cardiac center of the hospital as we speak. Again junior staff promotion Interview exercise is ongoing in the hospital as we speak,while clinical services to patients are on course.”

“The demonsrtating ARD which is a faction that has no mandate of all the resident  doctors are trainee doctors, who are at various stages of their postgraduate training should be reasonable and serious with their studies and go back to work,’’ Amah said.

Meanwhile, the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) in the hospital comprising Senior Staff Association, Medical and Health Workers Union, National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, National Union of Allied Health Professionals and Non-Academic Staff Union, has written the hospital’s management threatening fire and brimstone should any such money be paid out to the Resident Doctors.

In the letter dated November 29, 2018 and signed by its Chairman and Secretary, Barrister G.C. Nwadike and Ben Agbo, the union said it was convinced that the money being demanded by the Resident Doctors was taken from the overall personnel cost fund of the hospital  meant for paying all categories of staff. 

“With such depletion, it will be impossible to have enough funds to pay all categories of staff their salaries up to the end of the year,” JOHESU said.

The union further explained: "There were  no fund releases in the true sense of it. There are two platforms for payment of staff emoluments  IPPIS and GIFMIS) with one central Account with Central Bank of Nigeria housing the UNTH Personnel Cost Account.

"GIFMIS takes care of non regular staff . Usually money is transferred from the central Personnel Cost Account .We noticed that there was an increase in April and October transfers and the  personnel cost Account duly debited. So it was not a fresh or addictional fund releases. If the fund is applied as demanded by the Resident Doctor's it will definitely affect the payment of the statutory salaries of the entire UNTH staff."

Posted 05/12/2018 07:40:35 AM


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