Nurses and midwives in the Bayelsa State Civil Service have condemned the non-implementation of the new hazard allowance approved by the Federal Government.
Sunday PUNCH learned that no fewer than 450 nurses and midwives in the state were affected by the non-implementation of the new allowance. Hazard allowance is additional compensation for workers who perform exceedingly dangerous or physically uncomfortable jobs.
The Federal Government in December 2021 increased the hazard allowances applicable to health workers in its healthcare facilities across the country.
The increment was contained in a circular with reference SWC/S/04/S.218/11/406, dated December 22, 2021, from the Chairman of the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission.
It read in part, “Concerning the review of the hazard allowance applicable to health workers in the services of the federal hospitals, medical centres, and clinics in ministries, departments and agencies.
“The hazard allowance was reviewed to a flat rate that ranges from N5,000 to between N15,000 and N34,000 for health workers on the CONHESS salary structure, while doctors on CONMESS had theirs reviewed from N5,000 to between N32,000 and N40,000.”
By the new policy, non-clinical and clinical nurses and midwives on GL 01 to 05 are to earn N15,000 and N16,000 respectively as hazard allowance, those on GL 06 to 12 are to earn N30,000 and N32,000 respectively; those on GL 13 to 15 are to earn N32,000 to 34,000 respectively.
However, findings show that nurses and midwives in Bayelsa State are still paid N5,000 as hazard allowance despite the state government’s directives that the allowances be paid immediately.
Governor Douye Diri on Workers’ Day, May 1, 2023, directed the Head of Service, Biobelemoye Charles-Onyeama, to commence the implementation of the revised hazard allowance.
Diri said, “We believe that all medical and health workers who are entitled to call duty and hazard allowances as per our directives may have started receiving them, and if not, I hereby direct the Head of Service to go into this immediately and ascertain why that directive has not been carried out and implement it.”
Speaking with our correspondent on the matter, the Secretary-General, National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, Bayelsa State Council, Fii Samuel, said nurses still earn N5,000 monthly as hazard allowance.
He stated, “This is despite the fact that they are exposed to numerous hazards while rendering care to the sick resulting in injuries, burnout, contraction of infections and diseases, and sometimes even death. So, we are calling for the implementation of the new hazard allowance.”
Samuel added that nurses in special areas of practice and those who do call duty across public hospitals deserve to be paid call duty allowance in line with the 2014 revised call duty allowance scale.
He added, “The leadership of the association has made several failed efforts through meetings with the government and letters requesting for the implementation of the 2014 revised call duty allowance for specialist nurses but to no avail.
“The association as part of its resolution is calling on the Bayelsa State Government and all relevant agencies to take drastic steps to address the issues. This will further motivate nurses, boost their morale and improve services in the health care sector.”
When contacted, the state’s Head of Service, Biobelemoye Charles-Onyeama, said the state was working towards implementing the new policy but that there was no time frame as to when the new hazard allowance would be domesticated.
“What happens at the federal level is not an automatic thing for the state, so it is when the state domesticates it, that is when they can start earning it,” she stated.