Allegations by the Association of Resident Doctors, ARD, that the chief medical directors of the federal tertiary institutions were stalling the implementation of the Consolidated Salary Scale, have been debunked by the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission.
A circular on the issue which was made available to newsmen in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State yesterday, showed that the initial opposition of the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission and non-inclusion of the new pay in the 2015 Budget by the Federal Ministry of Health had stalled the implementation of the grade skipping (CONMESS 2).
The document revealed that the salary scale was not embedded in the 2015 Budget, which had made the implementation in almost all the tertiary hospitals very difficult.
A circular dated July 2, 2015 and signed by the Director (Compensation) of the Wages Commission, Mr. Chike Ogbechie, said the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, breached universally acceptable procedure by trying to skip CONMESS 2, the entry point for fresh medical officers.
The commission, in its clarification on the feasibility of the CONMESS 2, added that the office of the Head of Service of the Federation in its meeting of 4th November and 19th December, 2013 with stakeholders did not come out clear on whether the new salary scale should be implemented or not.
Obechie said: “So far, the modality for the implementation of CONMESS 2 has not been worked out neither has the relevant scheme of service been amended accordingly, Any attempt to implement the grade skipping on medical officers without the modalities will create confusion and grading absurdities, which will result in unwarranted high cost to government.”
The commission therefore called for patience on the matter and urged the Federal Ministry of Health to expedite action on the grade skipping at the court.
It appreciated the difficulty in the implementation of the new salary scale, adding that the matter had been directed to the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation for resolution.
The response was based on the opposition expressed against the implementation by the chief medical directors of the federal hospitals, insisting that the new salary would be difficult to pay except there is commensurate increase in their subventions by the Federal Ministry of Health.
Another letter dated 29th July, 2015 and signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, L.N. Awute, gave clarifications on the status of CONMESS 2 and its implications.
The ministry said it decided to extend the CONMESS 2 to doctors in compliance with the judgment of the National Industrial Court, NIC, delivered on 22nd July, 2013 wherein the honourable court upheld skipping of level 10 in CONTISS and its allied salary structures.
CONTISS was the salary structure for all health officers, including medical officers in the federal public service, which served as precursor for CONHESS and CONMESS.
The ministry in its directive to the CMDs said: “In view of the above, the Federal Ministry of Health has examined the table and confirmed that CONHESS 10 is equivalent to CONMESS 2. This is the level where skipping is to be effected.
“All CMDs/MDs are directed to note that this interpretation for use in guiding the implementation of the aforementioned circular and for their 2016 budget articulation believing that it is the lack of this interpretation and appropriation that brought about the uneven implementation of the new pay among tertiary hospitals, giving rise to the ongoing industrial action.”
The Chairman, Committee of the Chief Medical Directors and Medical Directors in Nigeria, Dr. Peter Alabi , had while reacting to the doctors’ strike exonerated his members of complicity in the delay, saying the snag experienced in the payment could only be blamed on administrative lapses.
Also reacting to the striking doctors’ vituperations against his members, the Chief Medical Director, Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti, Dr. Lawrence Ayodele, told journalists that the CONMESS would be paid, but could only be implemented if included in the 2016 budget.

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