*FG’s indebtedness is N17bn, says NSITF boss
The House of Representatives on Monday summoned the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, her Budget and National Planning and Labour and Productivity counterparts, Udoma Udo Udoma and Chris Ngigie to explain the non-remittance of contributions by the three tiers of government and their agencies to the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) from 2010 to date.
The ministers were summoned following the inability of top government officials to provide satisfactory answers to members of the House ad hoc committee probing the non-contribution of government agencies at the federal, state and council levels to the social insurance scheme for workers.
The three ministers are to appear today before members of the ad hoc committee.
Issuing the summon, Chairman of the ad hoc committee and Deputy Minority Leader, Rep. Chukwuka Onyema, said that government at all levels should be aware that failure to register and pay the statutory contributions to the NSITF amounts to a gross violation of the law.
Rep. Onyema further said that violating the law has exposed the vast majority of Nigeria workers to uninsured and uncovered risks, and occupational hazards which could not be compensated for.
In his submission to the ad hoc committee, the Managing Director of NSITF, Mr. Adebayo Somefun urged the National Assembly to intervene by ensuring that several federal government statutory bodies register and contribute to the Employees Compensation Scheme (ECS) under the NSITF.
Somefun said that Section 33 of the Employees Compensation Act (ECA) provides that every employer shall, within the first two years of the commencement of the Act, make a minimum monthly contribution of 1.0 per cent of the total payroll into the fund.
“However, since inception only three states have registered with the scheme. Bauchi, Taraba and Gombe have registered with the scheme but are yet to commence contributions.
“The remaining states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have not yet registered. It becomes imperative to ensure that the 36 states and FCT as well as all the 774 local governments and other companies not registered are made to comply with the ECA 2010 by registering with the NSITF.
“Since 2010 till date, the federal government owes N17 billion to the fund. They should register so that their employees can benefit from the compensation when the occasion arises,” he said.
According to Somefun, the scheme encourages safety in the work place and provides compensation for death, occupational diseases and injuries.
“It also reduces personal, physical and emotional suffering of employees and their relatives as well as minimizes bureaucracy and bottlenecks in determining liabilities,” he added.
Earlier, House Speaker, Yakubu Dogara while declaring open the public hearing said that employees have rights as recognized by the Employees Compensation Act, but expressed disappointment that government which enacted the legislation is guilty of flouting the law.
He added that it’s unfortunate for federal agencies, state and local governments to fail to subscribe and remit contributions to the scheme and wondered how they can inspire the private sector to embrace the scheme.
Henry Omunu, Abuja