In a bid to assuage health workers who have in recent times lamented of government’s lackluster attitude towards their welfare, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved additional N8.9 billion for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) hazard allowances to all medical health workers in the country.
The Chairman, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, disclosed this at the PTF briefing on Thursday in Abuja.
Mustapha also stated that in addition to this, the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for hospitals and isolation centres would be given priority.
The chairman also admitted diffusion in registration for passengers coming into Nigeria.
He said, “the PTF is aware of and working with our partners to speedily resolve the teething challenges faced by intending travellers in accessing the portal, the costs of the test on arrival, inability to complete payment online and consequential inability to board.
“We therefore apologise to everyone that had experienced these challenges using the platform.
“We assure all Nigerians and visitors to Nigeria that the PTF is working across multi-layer stakeholder platforms to ease the bottlenecks.
“Let me also assure you that the Federal Government is partnering with the private sector to facilitate the process of testing a week after arrival in a seamless manner.
“This is driven largely by deployment of technology; freedom to pick a certified private laboratory of choice; and delivering the service at minimal cost to the government,” Mustapha said.
Speaking on the striking health workers, he said: “Over the past one week, a lot of discussion in the public space has happened around the strike action by doctors and threats by other unions in the health sector. “While appreciable progress has been made in the negotiations to resolve the issues, I must underscore the fact that we are in a global public health emergency situation that has impacted negatively on all aspects of our lives including the economy and finances of government.
“This has made it imperative for all citizens irrespective of their professions and particularly health workers to re-awaken their sense of humanity and patriotism.
“The health and survival of our dear nation is important and we should eschew any action that will diminish the gains made in the containment of the pandemic so far,” he said.
Mustapha also reassured Nigerians of a renewed determination to deliver on the promises of the government to the nation.
The PTF chairman also said, “As part of the efforts to promote community engagement, the PTF met with Northern Traditional Leaders Committee on Polio and Primary Health Care, to discuss on how we can all control community spread of the Coronavirus.
“The royal fathers pledged their commitment and continued support as custodians of the rich history and culture of our people.
“We are working on replicating this dialogue around the country. ” Also, today, the PTF briefed the National Food Security Council on the impact of COVID-19 on agriculture and the food value chain.
“The impact no doubt has been heavy but the government has re-calibrated its strategy for mitigating the impact,” he added. (NAN)