Nurses Describe Government’s Statement On Allowances As “Misleading”
By Landing Ceesay
The Gambian Nurses & Midwives Association has described as “misleading” the government statement that the allowances of nurses have been resolved.
“Firstly, the only initiative of [the] Ministry of Health on allowances was the one for [the] Honourable Minister himself, doctors and PhD holders at the main Ministry. This request made by the Honourable Minister was granted by the cabinet on February 5th, 2021. Prior to this catastrophic decision by the Honourable Minister and the cabinet, a proposal initiated and forwarded by nurses for allowances to be enhanced was thrown out at the bilateral by the Ministry of Health and the PMO,” the association said on its Facebook page.
NAGaNM also warned the Ministry of Health to refrain from making “derogatory” statements against nurses either directly or connotatively.
Below reads the recent statement by the government that the allowance issue of nurses has been resolved, which the health practitioners described as “misleading”
“Contrary to erroneous news being widely circulated, the Ministry of Health wishes to inform citizens that it has been working tirelessly to provide allowances for its hard working nurses nationwide. The allowance payment to the nurses is part of the initiatives of the Ministry of Health. These allowances are currently being processed to be sent to their individual accounts.
“Therefore, the Ministry urges the general body of nurses to go ahead with their normal duties of providing healthcare services to the people of this country. The allowance issue has been resolved,” the Government spokesperson said in the statement.
On the contrary, the government statement on the subject has contradicted the letter that the Ministry of Health sent to the nurses on 24th August informing them that the payment of their allowances might be delayed beyond the 31st August deadline.
In the said letter, the ministry urged the membership to exercise a bit of patience to allow them [Ministry] to complete the process; while assuring them [nurses] that their allowances will be included in the September salaries and will take into account August allowances.
“The Ministry of Health receives a letter from the office of the Secretary-General and Head of the civil service relating to nurses’ allowances payments. We will like to inform you that every effort is being made to complete all the necessary procedures and processes required for the payments of approved allowances.
“However, the payments might be delayed, because of the work involved in the computation of allowances in the payroll system at each level of the centre. Consequently, the ministry will not be able to pay the allowances this August, but assure you that your allowances will be included in the September salaries and will take into account August allowances.
“In view of the circumstances, the ministry is urging your membership to exercise a bit of patience to allow us to complete the process,” the letter dated 24th August and signed by Lamin Dampha, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health to the association stated.
In response to the Ministry’s letter, NAGANM rejected the request for an extension of the deadline.
“Please be informed that your request for a grace period of an extra one month to pay these allowances has been rejected with immediate effect. The entire nursing fraternity is grossly disappointed contemptuously and negligently in which this allowance issue was handled following the agreement reached in May,” NAGANM replied to the Ministry on 25th August, 2021.
In addition, the spokesperson of the association recently threatened to embark on a nationwide strike on 1st September, if they their allowances are not paid by 31st August
“We will be embarking on a sit down strike Wednesday, on the 1st of September 2021, because the government failed to honour our agreement of paying our allowances. We have an agreement with them [government] that they will start paying our allowances in August but we receive a letter from the Ministry of Health that they will be paying our allowance in September,” spokesperson Sanna Darboe stated.
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