Osagie Ehanire, minister of health, says he is not aware if medical doctors and other health practitioners managing COVID-19 patients in Nigeria are paid any hazard allowance.
Ehanire, who met with the leadership of the national assembly in Abuja on Thursday, said what the doctors are doing is their routine job.
The meeting was between the lawmakers and the members of the presidential task force on COVID-19 to discuss ongoing trends on the pandemic in the country.
Femi Gbajabiamila, the speaker, had asked the minister if the medical personnel handling coronavirus cases are paid any hazard allowance, to which he responded: “I am not aware of it.”
He added: “It is the standard job they do every day; it is the standard job.”
An apparently furious Gbajabiamila told the minister it is not enough to say he is not aware, and “you dropped the ball”.
TheCable learnt that while Nigerian medical doctors earn a monthly hazard allowance of N5,000, it is yet to be increased even in the face of the pandemic.
Below is the dialogue that ensued between the minister and the speaker at the meeting:
Gbajabiamila: Are they being paid a hazard allowance for the job that they are doing?
Ehanire: I am not aware of it. It is the standard job they do everyday; it is the standard job.
Gbajabiamila: I thought you said coronavirus is novel, how is it a standard job?
Ehanire: Because screening is what you do every day.
Gbajabiamila: They don’t screen for coronavirus every day; they’ve never done it. This is the most infectious disease in the world.
Ehanire: Screening for temperature.
Gbajabiamila: The answer to my question is that they are not being paid hazard allowance.
Ehanire: No, the answer is that I am not aware.
Gbajabiamila: But you should be aware. It is not enough to say you don’t know. Honestly, you dropped the ball.