The management of the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH) in Akwa Ibom state has again appealed to the striking doctors in the hospital to be calm, as it is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring speedy payment of their salaries and other entitlements.
The appeal came on the heels of a recent accusation by the Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) in the hospital that, management was insensitive to their plight.
President NARD, Dr. Christian Adeyeye was quoted to have said in local tabloids that, doctors’ strike in the hospital ensued due to management’s unresponsiveness to workers’ welfare and refusal to comply with the Federal Ministry of Health and National Salaries and Wages Commission’s directive to pay full salaries amongst other entitlements.
But contrary to the insinuations, Chief Medical Director, UUTH, Prof. Etete Peters, in a reaction, explained that, the delay faced by the hospital in the payment of salaries was due to paucity of funds.
According to him, “The unfortunate thing for us as a hospital is that, our budget for this year has been reduced from N4.2b to N3.9b, and this has affected our ability to pay.
“Many hospitals cannot also pay. As I speak to you now, the University of Port-Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Benin and Asaba etc are on strike because they cannot also pay except few hospitals.
“So, it is not an isolated issue. We have accepted to pay but we must get money from the Federal Government”, he stated.
On the issue of over taxation, Prof. Peters explained that, the hospital is operating Akwa Ibom state’s Board of Internal Revenue template as they cannot use the Joint Tax Board formula being operated in Abuja to avoid being sanctioned by the state government.
On the rightful entry point for workers, he maintained that, he was yet to receive a circular from the Federal Ministry of Health to implement COHESS 9, Step 4 being asked for by workers, saying that, what is practicable for all hospitals is COHESS 1 Step 1 adding that, whenever approval is given for its implementation, such arrears would be cleared.
He said all pension funds remittances have been paid, except those ones whose account numbers have not been submitted to management, and called on doctors to exercise patience while efforts for the release of funds to the hospital for payment of salaries and allowances by the Federal Government are being intensified.