National Association of Government General Medical and Dental Practitioners (NAGGMDP) presents eight demands to address potential industrial disharmony
Health workers under the auspices of the National Association of Government General Medical and Dental Practitioners (NAGGMDP) have voiced their concerns and made eight demands to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration regarding the recent removal of fuel subsidy.
In a statement signed by Dr Sofiri Starson Peterside Jnr, the National President, and Dr Enobong Akpan, the Secretary General, NAGGMDP called for immediate action to avert potential multisectoral industrial disharmony that could bring Nigeria to a standstill.
President Tinubu had previously announced the removal of fuel subsidy during his inaugural speech last month, citing the unsustainable cost and limited resources available. He pledged to redirect the funds towards public infrastructure, education, healthcare, and job creation, with the aim of improving the lives of millions of Nigerians.
However, NAGGMDP’s demands highlight the concerns of health workers who urge the Federal Government to suspend the fuel subsidy removal and revert to the previous pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS). They emphasise the need to avoid a crisis that could disrupt various sectors of the economy.
The eight demands put forth by NAGGMDP are as follows:
1. Solidarity with the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC): NAGGMDP aligns with the NLC and calls on the Federal Government to urgently suspend the removal of fuel subsidy, returning to the previous pump price of PMS, to prevent potential industrial disharmony.
2. Revamping Refineries and Encouraging Local Production: NAGGMDP emphasises the urgent need to restore the functional capacity of existing refineries and issue licenses for the establishment of new refineries to boost local production of petroleum products.
3. Curbing Crude Oil Theft and Securing Borders: The Federal Government should take measures to address crude oil theft, enhance border security, and eliminate leakages within the oil and gas sector.
4. Subsidy Regime Audit: NAGGMDP calls for the creation of a government committee to conduct a comprehensive audit of the subsidy regime since its inception. The committee should investigate the allocation and utilisation of funds earmarked for refinery repairs, ensuring accountability for any misappropriation.
5. Strengthening Healthcare Financing: The Federal Government should allocate a minimum of 15% of the budget to the health sector, ensuring improved healthcare financing. Additionally, efforts should be made to achieve universal health coverage through primary healthcare and national/state health insurance schemes to reduce out-of-pocket expenses and enhance accessibility and affordability of healthcare services.
6. Cushioning Measures for Subsidy Removal: NAGGMDP urges the establishment of a robust economic team by the Federal Government to implement measures that protect citizens when the fuel subsidy is eventually removed. Priority should be given to addressing the widespread hunger and poverty in the country. Palliative measures should also be put in place to mitigate the impact of subsidy removal, particularly for low-income earners.
7. Cost Reduction and Prioritisation: The Federal Government, in the interest of the country, should take steps to reduce the cost of governance within the Executive and the National Assembly. Additionally, efforts to minimize borrowing should be made, redirecting saved funds to critical sectors of the economy, including an increase in the minimum wage.
8. Demonstration of Empathy: The administration led by Bola Ahmed Tinubu should demonstrate empathy towards Nigerian citizens by taking necessary actions to alleviate their suffering.
The demands presented by NAGGMDP reflect the concerns of health workers regarding the removal of fuel subsidy and call for prompt action from the government to address these issues and safeguard the welfare of the Nigerian people.