The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria has expressed displeasure over the recent decision by the Federal Government to increase allowances for only some public workers in the country.
It said the pay rise approval establishes the point that some public workers are considered more important than others, creating opportunities for grievances, problems and strikes.
The President of the Society, Cyril Usifoh, stated this on Wednesday while speaking with The PUNCH on the sidelines of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria Business Forum summit.
The event organised by the Federal Capital Territory Branch of the body was themed “Business Survival in Crisis Environment”.
Recall that last week, the National Association of Resident Doctors embarked on a nationwide strike protesting poor salaries and working conditions, demanding the immediate payment of the 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund, tangible steps on the “upward review” of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure and payment of all salary arrears owed its members since 2015. This was after the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, announced a pay raise for civil servants in the country.
The doctors also mandated the immediate massive recruitment of clinical staff in the hospitals and the abolishment of the bureaucratic limitations on the immediate replacement of doctors and nurses who leave the system.
But responding to the apparent silence by the body on the issue, the PSN president said the importance of community pharmacists in primary health centres should not be neglected in welfare, adding that a holistic approach is what makes the health sector flourish.
He said, “The first place of call for any patient is actually the pharmacist. So we provide services that the government don’t even try to assist. The people actually you’re talking about are those in the hospital, but they don’t form the bulk of the whole.
“It’s not as if society is quiet about our salaries and allowances. But I properly as president frown on the government discussing with some members of the health team at a disadvantage to others.
“You must holistically take everybody together, otherwise, if you start with one and you answer one, you are invariably providing an opportunity for grievances and problems and strikes, and I hope the government would look at that.”
He said the association might be forced to take more drastic action if urgent steps were not taken regarding pay raises for its members.
When asked about the possibility of a strike, Usifoh stated, “I hope that we won’t have to resort to that, but we will make sure that people don’t die because of our grievances. Well, I don’t need to tell you what I am doing. But whatever strategies we have, is to better the life of an average Nigerian.
On his part, the ACPN FCT Branch Chairman, Emejo Amadeh, explained that the summit was to help pharmacists to think outside the box in order to survive the economic crisis facing the country.
He said, “We are here today for a business summit to teach pharmacists how to think outside the box with disruptive ideas so as to enlarge our horizons and do exploits in other fields of endeavour. As a professional. We’re well-trained but underutilised based on our community pharmacy cycle, and after the summit, we will engage other areas of opportunity that are valuable within our environment.
The keynote speaker, Inusa Bello, said the event was to teach participants social, business, digital and marketing skills.