The Federal Government will recover millions of naira wrongly paid to 588 medical doctors across the country.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, stated this when he fielded questions from State House correspondents in Abuja.
He explained that affected doctors wrongly benefitted from Medical Residency Training Fund meant for a particular category of doctors.
He said the names of the doctors were uncovered after a thorough scrutinisation of the 8000 names submitted by Chief Medical Directors of Federal Government health institutions for the training programme.
The minister, however, revealed that a substantial amount of the money had been refunded by some of the affected doctors while efforts had been intensified to recover the remaining balance.
He maintained that the delay in making the refund by the affected doctors was holding back the Residency Fund payment by the government.
”Ministry of Health has gotten the list of doctors who supposedly are to benefit from the Medical Residency Training Fund.
“Total submission of about 8000 names were gotten and the Ministry of Health is scrutinising them.
“We have done the first round of scrutinization and they will now compare what they have with the Post-Graduate Medical College and the Chief Medical Directors who submitted the names.
“The Association of Resident Doctors, in each of the tertiary centres, worked with the CMDs to produce those names, but now that the names are being verified.
“We discovered that about 2000 names shouldn’t be there because they don’t have what is called Postgraduate Reference Numbers of National Postgraduate Medical College and (or) that of the West African Postgraduate Medical College.
“So, this is it and that is the only thing holding back the Residency Fund payment because it is there already for… incurred expenditure has been done by the Finance Minister and it’s in the Accountant-General’s office.,” he said.
”So, once they verify the authenticity of those they are submitting, the Accountant-General will pay.
“We are doing that verification because we do not want what happened last time in 2020 to reoccur.
“In 2020, the submitted names didn’t come through the appropriate source, which is the Postgraduate Medical College and payment was affected and it was discovered that about 588 persons, who were not resident doctors benefited from such money.
“They are now finding it difficult to make the full refund. But they have to refund that money. Some are refunding, but there is no full consideration of the account.
“That account has to be reconciled to enable the accountants to pay the next round of funding for 2021,” he said.
On the ongoing strike by Resident Doctors, Ngige expressed the readiness of the Federal Government to withdraw the case it instituted against them if they would go back to their duty post.
He, however, insisted that the ‘no work, no pay’ policy of the government would be observed because ”it is a global practice which is also captured in Section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act under the International Labour Organisation, ILO.”