The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Association of Resident Doctors has concluded arrangement to suspend its planned strike following the intervention of the FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello, who ordered immediate suspension of arbitrary tax deductions from their salaries.
The doctors had given a 21-day ultimatum beginning from yesterday to protest against what they described as “arbitrary way” of tax deductions the new Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) tax regime has brought to bear.
The new decisions were reached by both parties at a meeting the FCT minister had with union representatives of the doctors in Abuja.
This was contained in a statement signed yesterday by the Chief Press Secretary to the Minister, Cosmas Uzodinma, in Abuja.
According to the statement, the President of the association, Dr. Michael Olanrewaju, said: “The issues have got to do with the drastic reduction of salaries in the last two months as a result of the implementation of the new PAYE tax. The association, being law abiding, is not against tax payment but against the arbitrary calculation and implementation without notice. This has greatly impoverished our members, and sapped energy and motivations.
Olanrewaju, who lamented that the development resulted in members having to take home only half salaries, stressed: “Other issues raised during the emergency meeting with the FCT minister and relevant administration’s top functionaries include the selective payment of the skipping allowances approved by the FCT Minister, which they described as a milestone across the country.
“It was after the FCT’s initiative that most other states and institutions started paying doctors the new salary structure. I recollected that two years ago, the minister also approved the skipping policy for doctors in the FCT, which was also a welcome development.”
However, he expressed dismay at the non-payment of the 28 days relocation allowance approved for doctors as well as a recent promotion, which did not seem to recognise the skipping allowance approved by the FCT minister.
Meanwhile, the minister urged the doctors to be rest assured that the administration would do everything within the law to ensure adequate welfare for the citizens.
He, therefore, directed relevant officials to meet with the association to iron out issues.