The Federal Government has approved the appointment of doctors, nurses, and other clinical healthcare workers as contract staff after attaining their compulsory retirement age or years in service.
This is part of efforts to mitigate the mass exodus of health workers to developed countries, which has led to an acute shortage of health professionals in the nation’s health sector.
The approval was contained in a circular dated 5 October and issued by the Federal Ministry of Health.
In the circular, the government directed all chief executive officers of agencies, chief medical directors, medical directors, and heads of regulatory bodies and schools to ensure strict compliance with a previous circular issued by the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation to all staff within their respective institutions.
This development follows a prior circular dated 30 August from the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF).
The circular, titled ‘Re: Review of retirement age to 65 and 70 years for health professionals and medical/dental consultants,’ with reference number HCSF/SPSO/ODD/CND/100/S./145, was addressed to the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health.
The circular, signed by Olufemi Oloruntoba, the Permanent Secretary of the Service Policies and Strategies Office, on behalf of the HCSF, expressed the rejection of the proposed increase in retirement age for medical and dental consultants and other health professionals.
It cited several reasons for the rejection including the fact that healthcare professionals were leaving the country not due to their retirement age but primarily because of financial considerations and unfavourable working conditions.
“Some state government had already increased the retirement age of medical doctors and other health workers and this has not addressed the spate of brain drain,” it said.
The circular expressed dissatisfaction with the work ethic of healthcare workers, despite the government’s efforts to encourage them.
However, in a significant move, the circular also approved that clinical health workers who have reached their compulsory retirement age or years of service may be offered contract appointments.
These contract appointments would be on the same salary scale level that they retired on, provided the healthcare worker desires and deserves it.
The circular calls on the government to engage with relevant bodies, such as the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria and the Nigerian Medical Association, to secure a commitment from medical doctors.
It also calls for the establishment of an effective performance management system within the public service to enhance the work ethics of medical officers, consultants, and doctors.
“To address the observed dissatisfaction with the attitude of health workers to work, there is a need to institutionalise an effective performance management system in the public service in order to improve the work ethics of the medical officers and consultant, and medical doctors should show more patriotism in the discharge of their duties and avoid holding the system to ransom,” the circular also said.
The circular emphasised the importance of medical professionals showing greater patriotism in the discharge of their duties and refraining from actions that could disrupt the healthcare system.
Nigeria’s health sector is currently grappling with severe shortage of skilled personnel, resulting from the mass departure of healthcare professionals.
A 2022 UK immigration report showed that 13,609 Nigerian healthcare workers (including doctors) were granted working visas in the past year, making the country second only to the 42,966 from India.
As of October 2022, the Nigeria Medical Association disclosed that only 24,000 licensed medical doctors were available in the country, lamenting that only one doctor is available to treat 30,000 patients in some southern states, while in the north, it is one doctor to 45,000 patients.
Kogi guber poll: I won’t challenge election result at tribunal — Dino Melaye
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the just concluded Kogi State Governorship election, Senator Dino Melaye has announced his decision not to seek legal redress following his electoral loss.
Melaye, who made his decision known at a media briefing in Abuja, on Wednesday, said his decision was hinged on the fact that the judiciary has allegedly become an arm of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
According to him, it is now public knowledge that the judiciary under the current administration has become the “lost hope” instead of the “last hope” of the common man.
Melaye noted that it was a shame that the judiciary watched helplessly as members of the ruling party boasted of their control over the judiciary during campaigns.
Israel-Hamas war: ‘I kissed her but she wouldn’t wake up.’ Grandfather of 3-year-old girl killed as she slept in Gaza grieves
Picking through the rubble of his destroyed home, Khaled Nabhan lifts a doll that had belonged to his granddaughter and kisses it.
Toys and memories are all he has left of his beloved grandchildren, 3-year-old Reem and 5-year-old Tarek, who were killed last week while they were sleeping in their bed.
Their home was brought down by what Nabhan said was a nearby Israeli airstrike in the Al Nuseirat refugee camp in southern Gaza. Nabhan has only just managed to return, following the pause in fighting.
Speaking to CNN from the ruins of his home, Nabhan described the final evening he had with his grandchildren, breaking down in tears as he recalled how they begged him to take them outside to play. He had refused because of the danger from Israeli airstrikes, he said.
“They kept asking for fruit but there is no fruit because of the war,” he said. Clutched in his hand was a tangerine that he’d given Reem as a treat, but that she never had the chance to eat. “I could only find them these tangerines.”
The family was asleep when the airstrike hit. Khaled said he woke up screaming for his children and grandchildren, struggling to walk through the dark and the wreckage to find them.
“I couldn’t find anyone, they were buried underneath all this rubble,” he said, standing on a bed in a room full of debris.
Nabhan showed CNN videos and photos of the family in happier times, of the children singing, laughing and playing. In one clip, Nabhan throws his granddaughter into the air and catches her while Reem giggles with delight. In another image, Nabhan grins while riding a bicycle, his granddaughter sits on the handlebars wearing a pretty yellow dress and white flowers in her hair.
The two were inseparable, he said. With their father abroad working, the family lived with their grandfather and he was Reem’s whole world.
Her favorite game was pulling his beard and he would pull her piggy tails, he said.
“I’ll let go, if you let go,” she says giggling in a video.
In the battered bedroom of their house in Gaza, Nabhan showed CNN where his daughter Maysa — Reem and Tarek’s mother — was sleeping when the house collapsed. She and her sister survived but were seriously injured.
Speaking to CNN from a relative’s house in Gaza where they are recuperating, Maysa said she remembered screaming and something heavy pinning her down.
“I heard Reem screaming next to me, I told her there is something heavy on top of me, I can’t reach you. I said my final prayers and next I woke up in the hospital,” she said.
Maysa woke up to the news her young children were gone. Their lifeless bodies were found together under the rubble.
“At the hospital I was just numb. I hugged them, I wanted to get as many hugs as I could. No matter how much I hugged them I didn’t get enough,” Maysa said.
For nearly seven weeks, most people in the Gaza Strip have been just trying to survive, focusing on the basics: finding shelter, fleeing the fighting, getting access to food and water.
The pause in fighting between Israel and Hamas has given many families in Gaza the chance to go outside, buy supplies and return home to retrieve belongings or even bury the bodies of their loved ones.
For many Gazans like Nabhan, the truce has also deepened the heartache as they take stock of their new, devastated surroundings. The weeks of airstrikes and fighting have left entire neighborhoods levelled to the ground and many are now able to see the full scale of the devastation for the first time.
More than 14,800 Palestinians, including 6,000 children, have been killed in Gaza since Israel launched its offensive in response to the Hamas terror attacks of October 7, according to figures from the Palestinian Ministry of Health in the West Bank, which draws its data from Hamas-run health authorities in the Gaza Strip.
Earlier this month, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said Gaza is “becoming a graveyard for children,” adding that “The nightmare in Gaza is more than a humanitarian crisis. It is a crisis of humanity.”
His comments came four weeks after Israel declared war on Hamas, following the Islamist militant group’s deadly October 7 terror attack that killed 1,200 people in Israel, mostly civilians, and saw about 240 others kidnapped and taken back to Gaza – the largest single day attack on Israel since the country’s founding in 1948.
The temporary truce has also brought joy as those hostages released by Hamas as part of the deal agreed last week finally returned to Israel and reunited with their families in heart wrenching scenes. Others still face an anxious wait for news of the fate of their loved ones, including mutliple children, still held captive by militants in Gaza.
Grieving grandfather Nabhan says his grandchildren were too young to understand the war they lived and died in. He is not a fighter, he said, and his family had nothing to do with the war.
Now his grandchildren will never be able to dress up, play, or eat their favorite treats.
Nabhan was seen around the world in a widely shared video of his moment of grief last week as he kissed his lifeless 3-year-old granddaughter goodbye.
“I used to kiss her on her cheeks, on her nose and she would giggle,” he said. “I kissed her but she wouldn’t wake up.”
In another social media video, the two children’s bodies lay prepared for burial in white shrouds while Nabhan fixes Tarek’s hair.
“I combed his hair like he would always ask me to, like a photo he would always show me,” Nabhan said. “He loved his hair like that, now he’s gone.”
From his ruined home, Nabhan searches through his damaged possessions and bundles up armfuls of colorful toys — the loss etched into the lines of his face.
“I was wishing, hoping that they were only sleeping,” he said. “But they weren’t sleeping, they are gone.
CULLED FROM CNN
Full text of President Tinubu’s speech at presentation of 2024 budget to N’Assembly
President Bola Tinubu, on Wednesday presented the 2024 budget to the National Assembly’s joint session.
It is President Tinubu’s first full-year budget since he assumed office in May.
Below is the complete transcript of his speech:
2024 BUDGET SPEECH: Budget of Renewed Hope
In furtherance of my sacred duties and obligations as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it is my honour to be here today to present my administration’s 2024 Budget Proposal to this Joint Session of the 10th National Assembly. This moment is especially profound and significant to me because it is my first annual budgetary presentation to the National Assembly.
Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members of the National Assembly, I commend your swift consideration and passage of the 2023 Supplementary Appropriation Bills and the 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.
Your prompt action underscores your devotion to economic development and to the greater welfare of our people. It also highlights your desire to work in close collaboration with the Executive branch. We do not serve ourselves. We must always strive to work together to serve and benefit the people of our beloved country.
I am confident that the National Assembly will continue to work closely with us to ensure that deliberations on the 2024 Budget are thorough but also concluded with reasonable dispatch. Our goal is for the Appropriation Act to come into effect on the 1st of January 2024.
It is, by now, a matter of recorded history that my very first fiscal intervention as President of this great nation was to end the fuel subsidy regime which had proven to be so harmful to the overall health of our national economy. The second was to negotiate and subsequently present a supplementary budget to enable my government to fund the items needed to restore macro-economic stability and mitigate the harsh impact of subsidy removal.
The third was to secure a second supplementary budget, this time to enable us to keep our promises to promote national security, invest in infrastructure and provide much needed support to the most vulnerable households in our society.
In swearing-in my cabinet and reflecting on the unique challenges facing us, I invited the Ministers to imagine that we are attempting to draw water from a dry well. Today, I stand before you to present our Budget of Renewed Hope; a budget which will go further than ever before in cementing macro-economic stability, reducing the deficit, increasing capital spending and allocation to reflect the eight priority areas of this Administration. The budget we now present constitutes the foundation upon which we shall erect the future of this great nation.
PREVAILING ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT
Economic conditions remain challenging both abroad and at home. Despite lingering Post-Covid supply and production bottlenecks, armed conflict in various parts of the world and restrictive monetary policies in major economies, we expect global growth to hover around 3.0 percent in 2024. This relative low rate has significant implications for our economy due to our current reliance on importation.
Distinguished Senators, Honourable Members: despite the global headwinds, the Nigerian economy has proven resilient, maintaining modest but positive growth over the past twelve months.
Inflation has trended upward due to weak global conditions. To contain the rising domestic prices, we will ensure effective coordination of fiscal and monetary policy measures, and collaborate with sub-national governments to address structural factors driving inflation in Nigeria.
The Budget proposal meets our goal of completing critical infrastructure projects which will help address structural problems in the economy by lowering the costs of doing business for companies and the cost of living for the average person, The Honourable Minister of Budget and Economic Planning will provide full details of this proposal.
PERFORMANCE OF THE 2023 BUDGET
Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members, an aggregate revenue of 045 trillion naira was projected to fund the 2023 Budget of 24.82 trillion naira with a deficit of about 6.1 percent of GDP.
As of September 30, the Federal Government’s actual aggregate revenue inflow was 65 trillion naira, approximately 96 percent of the targeted 8.28 trillion naira.
Despite the challenges, we continue to meet our obligations.
THEME AND PRIORITIES OF THE 2024 BUDGET
Distinguished Senators, Honourable Members, permit me to highlight key issues relating to the budget proposals for the next fiscal year. The 2024 Appropriation has been themed the Budget of Renewed Hope. The proposed Budget seeks to achieve job-rich economic growth, macro-economic stability, a better investment environment, enhanced human capital development, as well as poverty reduction and greater access to social security.
Defence and internal security are accorded top priority. The internal security architecture will be overhauled to enhance law enforcement capabilities and safeguard lives, property and investments across the country.
Human capital is the most critical resource for national development. Accordingly, the budget prioritizes human development with particular attention to children, the foundation of our nation.
To improve the effectiveness of our budget performance, government will focus on ensuring value for money, greater transparency and accountability. In this regard, we will work more closely with development partners and the private sector.
To address long-standing issues in the education sector, a more sustainable model of funding tertiary education will be implemented, including the Student Loan Scheme scheduled to become operational by January 2024.
A stable macro-economic environment is important to catalyse private investment and accelerate economic growth. We have and shall continue to implement business and investment friendly measures for sustainable growth.
We expect the economy to grow by a minimum of 76 percent, above the forecasted world average. Inflation is expected to moderate to 21.4 percent in 2024.
In preparing the 2024 Budget, our primary objective has been to sustain our robust foundation for sustainable economic development. A critical focus of this budget and the medium term expenditure framework is Nigeria’s commitment to a greener future.
Emphasizing public-private partnerships, we have strategically made provisions to leverage private capital for big-ticket infrastructure projects in energy, transportation and other sectors. This marks a critical step towards diversifying our energy mix, enhancing efficiency, and fostering the development of renewable energy sources. By allocating resources to support innovative and environmentally conscious initiatives, we aim to position Nigeria as a regional leader in the global movement towards clean and sustainable energy.
As we approach COP 28 climate summit, a pivotal moment for global climate action, I have directed relevant government agencies to diligently work towards securing substantial funding commitments that will bolster Nigeria’s energy transition.
It is imperative that we seize this opportunity to attract international partnerships and investments that align with our national goals. I call upon our representatives to engage proactively to showcase the strides we have made in the quest to create an enabling environment for sustainable energy projects.
Together, we will strive for Nigeria to emerge from COP 28 with tangible commitments, reinforcing our dedication to a future where energy is not only a catalyst for development but also a driver of environmental stewardship.
Distinguished members of the National Assembly, the revised 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) sets out the parameters for the 2024 Budget.
After a careful review of developments in the world oil market and domestic conditions, we have adopted a conservative oil price benchmark of 96 US Dollars per barrel and daily oil production estimate of 1.78 million barrels per day. We have also adopted a Naira to US Dollar exchange rate of 750 naira per US Dollar for 2024.
Accordingly, an aggregate expenditure of 5 trillion naira is proposed for the Federal Government in 2024, of which the non-debt recurrent expenditure is 9.92 trillion naira while debt service is projected to be 8.25 trillion naira and capital expenditure is 8.7 trillion naira.
Nigeria remains committed to meeting its debt obligations. Projected debt service is 45% of the expected total revenue.
Budget deficit is projected at 18 trillion naira in 2024 or 3.88 percent of GDP. This is lower than the 13.78 trillion naira deficit recorded in 2023 which represents 6.11 percent of GDP.
The deficit will be financed by new borrowings totalling 83 trillion naira, 298.49 billion naira from Privatization Proceeds and 1.05 trillion naira drawdown on multilateral and bilateral loans secured for specific development projects.
Our government remains committed to broad-based and shared economic prosperity. We are reviewing social investment programmes to enhance their implementation and effectiveness. In particular, the National Social Safety Net project will be expanded to provide targeted cash transfers to poor and vulnerable households. In addition, efforts will made to graduate existing beneficiaries toward productive activities and employment.
We are currently reviewing our tax and fiscal policies. Our target is to increase the ratio of revenue to GDP from less than 10 percent currently to 18 percent within the term of this Administration. Government will make efforts to further contain financial leakages through effective implementation of key public financial management reforms.
Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members, in view of the limited resources available through the federal budget, we are also exploring Public Private Partnership arrangements to finance critical infrastructure.
We, therefore, invite the private sector to partner with us to ensure that our fiscal, trade and monetary policies, as well as our developmental programs and projects succeed in unlocking the latent potential of our people and other natural endowments, in line with our national aspirations.
Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members, this Budget presentation would be incomplete without commending the patriotic resolve of the 10th National Assembly to collaborate with the Executive on our mission to renew hope and deliver on our promises to the Nigerian people. I assure you of the strong commitment of the Executive to sustain and deepen the relationship with the National Assembly.
As you consider the 2024 Budget estimates, we trust that the legislative review process will be conducted with a view to sustaining our desired return to a predictable January-December fiscal year.
I have no doubt that you will be guided by the interest of all Nigerians. We must ensure that only projects and programs with equitable benefits are allowed into the 2024 Budget. Additionally, only projects and programs which are in line with the sectoral mandates of MDAs and which are capable of realizing the vision of our Government should be included in the budget.
As a Government, we are committed to improving the lot of our people and delivering on our promises to them. The 2024 Budget has the potential to boost performance, promote the development of Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, enhance security and public safety, and improve the general living conditions of our people.
In closing, I am confident that these budgetary allocations and directives will set Nigeria on a transformative path towards a sustainable and resilient energy future, fostering economic growth, job creation, and environmental preservation.
It is with great pleasure, therefore, that I lay before this distinguished Joint Session of the National Assembly, the 2024 Budget Proposals of the Federal Government of Nigeria, titled The Renewed Hope Budget.
I thank you most sincerely for your attention. May we collectively chart the course towards a brighter and cleaner future for our great nation.
May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
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