Pharmacists across the country have decried their exclusion from the implementation of the recent increase in the pay of federal civil servants, describing it as discriminatory and unacceptable. They argued that despite several attempts made to secure the Federal Government’s attention on salary increment, no pharmacist has benefited from pay rise in the last thirteen years.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, had earlier disclosed that the Federal Government approved an increased pay for civil servants in the country to take effect from 1 January, 2023, but noted that only the 144,766 federal civil servants under the Consolidated Public Service Salary Structure will benefit from the new 40 per cent peculiar allowance.
The implementation of the new peculiar allowance from the payment of April salaries has excluded pharmacists and other health workers from enjoying the 40 per cent pay rise.
Whereas the peculiar allowance for civil servants was necessitated by the current economic reality to help government workers to cushion the effects of rising inflation, rising cost of living, hikes in transportation fare, housing and electricity tariffs.
The National Chairman, Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists Of Nigeria (AHAPN), Pharm. Olabode Ogunjemiyo, queried the exclusion of pharmacists from the salary increment, when in actual fact every worker is affected by the volatile economic situation in the country, as he called for an urgent amendment to include pharmacists in the implementation of the allowance.
Ogunjemiyo, who spoke on behalf of his members said “It is on record that pharmacists across the nation are yet to experience any increase in pay since 2010, despite their efforts and other health workers to seek for salary increment over the years with collective bargaining agreements reached in most cases.
“It is worthy of note that all civil servants are subjected to the same economic realities of our time. We go to the same market, buy the same PMS and diesel, pay same school fees for our children etc. it is therefore discriminatory to exclude pharmacists from the 40% pay rise.
“The pharmacists in the nation are saddened with this development, especially now that there is mass exodus of her members to other nations for greener pastures”.
To stem the tide in brain drain among pharmacists in the nation, he charged the Federal Government to include pharmacists without further delay in the 40 per cent pay rise and the arrears be paid with immediate effect.
The number-one hospital and administrative pharmacist in Nigeria also urged the government to urgently implement the pharmacists Consultancy Cadre to relevant consultants in the country, as well as payment of relativity arrears for pharmacists outstanding since 2014.
He further tasked the Federal Government on the adjustment of Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) to meet up with current realities, implementation of Pharm. D entry point for Doctor of Pharmacists holders, as well as implementation of the increased call duty allowance from 2-4% for Pharm. D holders.
Ogunjemiyo averred that if these pending issues are addressed forthwith by the Federal Government, the recurrent brain drain among pharmacists would be drastically reduced