Millions of naira wrongly paid to 588 medical doctors will be recovered by the Federal Government.
In an interview with State House correspondents in Abuja, Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, affirmed this.
Affected doctors received funds from the Medical Residency Training Fund intended for a particular category of doctors, he explained.
The names of the doctors were discovered after a thorough examination of the 8000 names submitted by the Chief Medical Directors of Federal Government health institutions.
A substantial amount of the money, however, has been refunded by some of the affected doctors, while efforts have been intensified to recover the remaining balance.
According to him, the delay in making the refunds by the affected doctors is preventing the government from paying the Residency Fund.
The Ministry of Health has received the list of doctors that are supposed to benefit from the Medical Residency Training Fund.
“A total of about 8000 names have been submitted and the Ministry of Health is reviewing them.
“We have completed the first round of scrutiny, and now they will compare what they have with that of the Post-Graduate Medical College and the Chief Medical Directors who submitted names.
In each of the tertiary centres, the Association of Resident Doctors worked with the CMDs to develop these names, but now those names are being verified.
Approximately 2000 names are incorrect because they do not have the Postgraduate Referral Number from the National Postgraduate Medical College and (or) from the West African Postgraduate Medical College.
The only thing holding up the Residency Fund payment is that the incurred expenditure has already been handled by the Finance Minister and it is in the Accountant General’s Office,” he said.
The Accountant-General will pay once they verify the authenticity of those they are submitting.
“We are doing the verification because we don’t want what happened last time in 2020 to happen again.”.
There were 588 individuals who benefited from such funds in 2020 but they weren’t resident doctors because the names weren’t submitted through the right source, Postgraduate Medical College.
They are now having difficulty making the full refund. However, they must refund the money. Some refunds are being made, but there is no full consideration of the account.
“That account must be reconciled for the accountants to pay the next round of funding in 2021,” he said.
In response to the ongoing strike by Resident Doctors, Ngige said the Federal Government was ready to withdraw the case it had initiated against them if the doctors returned to duty.
However, he emphasized that the ‘no work, no pay’ policy of the government would be observed because “it is a global practice that is captured in Section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act under the International Labour Organization, ILO.”