IPPIS scam: FG, Reps set up committees to probe syndicate involved in multiple payments to certain Resident Doctors

•As NARD set to refund over N308m over-payment to Resident Doctors •To conduct forensic audit of Medical, Dental Council •Gbajabiamila meets striking Doctors next Tuesday

The tripartite meeting initiated by the House of Representatives with Federal Government delegation and National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) with a view to ending the ongoing nationwide strike on Friday was a deadlock.

The meeting which lasted for about five hours was attended by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Abdulaziz Abdullahi; President, National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Dr. Okhvaihesuyi Imlawa and Registrar, Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), Dr Tajudeen Sanusi, as well as members of the House
Committee on Healthcare Services and Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Benjamin Kalu.

Before embarking on the closed door, the lawmakers raised alarm over a group of syndicate among the civil servants and operators of the Integrated Payment and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) who allegedly involved in manipulating the system to defraud the government.

While giving an update on the outcome of the meeting, Hon. Tanko Sununu disclosed that all the parties unanimously agreed to set up three sub-committees that will investigate various infractions.

Worried by the level of corruption involved in the multiple payments of salaries to a group of Resident Doctors in certain hospitals across the country, the stakeholders unanimously resolved to set up a committee to be headed by a “Director in the Federal Ministry of Labour with membership from the Ministry of Health, NARD, IPPIS and Committee of CMD to look at all the infractions that were noticed involving multiple payment and other issues, to also suggest punitive measures to meted on those who have acted wrongly.

“That would also have to commence work immediately and submit the report the report to the Federal Ministry of Health to be copied to the Committee for necessary action to be taken,” Hon. Sununu said.

According to him, “One of the Committees is to sort the issue of House Officers and they are to commence work with immediate effect and submit the authenticated list to the IPPIS office within 24 hours so that payment of those who have been omitted would be done with immediate effect.

“The other committee is to be headed by a director in the ministry of labour with membership from Ministry of Health, NARD, IPPIS and Committee of CMD to look at all the infractions that were noticed involving multiple payment and other issues to also suggest punitive measures to meted on those who have acted wrongly. That would also have to commence work immediately and submit the report to the Federal Ministry of Health to be copied to the Committee for
necessary action to be taken.

“The last Committee has also realized that the presentation of NARD, that the MDCN shot within its expectations the accusation of so many Doctors registering and they have not been given their licenses.

Others were unable to access their license and so many accusations.

“The Committee came up with the agreement to set up a committee that would forensically audit all the activities of the MDCN in the last five years to ensure that the capacity and the ability of the MDCN to carry out its mandate is ensured.”

The parties also mandated relevant agencies to “ensure that House Officers must be paid within the shortest possible time. We also agreed that the Association of Resident Doctors made it clear that in the last four months, the members of the Association were wrongly paid amount to the tune of N308 million and the money has been with the NARD, which has been following the necessary organ of government to ensure that the money is being paid back to the government treasury, but the account was not given to them.

“At this meeting, we resolved that the account was forwarded to the President of NARD for onward transmission to members so that the money would be paid back to the government account.”

According to him, those affected are: 446 Medical Residency training while there is no definite figure for the House Officers, adding that the comprehensive list has been handed over to the Committee to scrutinize while assuring that IPPIS personnel are expected to work through the weekend with a view to ensuring prompt payment of four-month
outstanding salaries.

On his part, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Abdulaziz Abdullahi, who adopted the position of the House, applauded the intervention of the House leadership towards resolving the lingering crisis.

He however noted that another meeting has been scheduled with Federal Ministry of Labour with the view to resolve the issue of N5,000 hazard allowance.

“Hazard allowance as it is now you know is a flat rate of N5,000 which in the present-day reality we know is quite inadequate. So we as a government we have agreed that after all said and done, take a deeper look will be given on the issue of hazard allowance.

“We are pleading with the doctors to see reasons. Nigerians are suffering. Just like he said, not everybody can afford to in the event of anybody falling ill to go to private hospitals. so we plead with them and urge them to please consider Nigerians and consider the oath they have taken to save lives.”

In his brief remarks, Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Healthcare Services, Hon. Samuel Adejare urged the Resident Doctors to call off the strike and return back to the negotiating table.

He said Nigerians are finding things difficult due to the strike, adding majority are in pain and cannot access medical care in private hospitals due to economic hardship occasioned by the covid-19 pandemic.

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