The Federal Government has assured that the mandatory one per cent deduction from the Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government, MDAs, as workers’ contributions to the Employee Compensation of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF, will be given every necessary attention.
Recall that the Extraordinary Session of the Federal Executive Council of President Buhari had on May 15, 2023, gave approval for one percent mandatory deductions from the source of the MDAs emoluments as Employee Compensation contributions, with retroactive effect from January 2023.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, who gave the assurance during a courtesy visit on him by the Executive and Management of the NSITF led by its Managing Director, Barr. Maureen Allagoa, said the NSITF is a critical agency of government that should be assisted to discharge its enormous responsibilities to the Nigerian workers.
He noted that the organisation has a lot to offer to the workers in the public and private sectors, adding that its crucial roles in rehabilitating injured workers as well as several benefits extended to families of workers who die in the course of work, explains its pivotal place in the world of work.
A statement issued by Nwachukwu Godson, General Manager, Corporate Affairs NSITF, quoted the SGF as saying, “I have a fair knowledge of what you do because my friend and colleague at that time (last administration) the former Minister of Labour, used to talk to me about the fund and its challenges. It was on the basis of his presentation that the decision to deduct one percent from the MDAs was taken.
“This is a matter for implementation. I have already minuted to the Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Affairs Office to attach some of these conclusions to enable me take action.
“This organisation (NSITF) has a lot to offer, too much to offer to the Nigerian workers in both private and public sectors of the economy. The injuries suffered by workers in the private sector and in the public sector are such that if you don’t come to their aide, they might be crippled for life.
“It is therefore a matter for concern that this (1% deductions from the MDAs) has not yet been implemented but given the fact that this was only concluded in May 2023, you understand why we are yet to act on this. There were so many conclusions towards the end of the tenure of the last administration and I believe this was done in good faith, and so, we treat it on its own merit. I hence thank and assure that you will hear from us as soon as the cabinet affairs office concludes what I asked them to do.”
Earlier in her address, the Managing Director/Chief Executive of the NSITF, Barr. Allagoa acquainted Senator Akume with the history, achievements and challenges of the Fund, sought the assistance of the SGF towards the implementation of the compulsory employee compensation for all public servants as approved by the Federal Executive Council in May 2023.
She was accompanied during the visit by the Executive Director of Administration, Prof. Gabriel Okenwa, Executive Director, Operations, Modu Gana, Executive Director, Finance, Adegoke Adedeji as well General Manager, Social Security, Christian Uduaghan, General Manager Compliance, Kabiru Maji and General Manager, Finance, Zwalda Ponkap.
She said, “the NSITF since 2010 has registered 14, 000 employers which translates to over 7.4 million employees, majorly from the organised private sector.
“We are also currently making inroads into the informal sector but seriously handicapped in the public sector despite the FEC approval of May 15, 2023, authorising the implementation of Employee’s Compensation for all public servants through a compulsory one per cent deduction from the source of emoluments of the MDAs.
“We are yet to achieve the implementation of this approval that is key to the fundamental repositioning of the Fund. This same FEC approval gives a directive for universal implementation of the compensation scheme across all tiers of government by directing the Attorney General of the Federation(AGF) to liaise with the Attorney Generals in the thirty-six states of the Federation towards achieving this.
“Contained in the same FEC approval also, is the directive to the Minister of Finance that all the shortfalls of the backlog owed by the MDAs from 2012 to 2023 be deducted and paid to the NSITF.”
Mrs.Allagoa also stated that the management of the Fund is steadfast to the fulfilment of the aims and objectives of the organisation.
“Between 2011 and July 2023, the NSITF has paid a total of 99,678 claims under various contingencies of death, medical expenses, disability and retirement benefits as well as a further treatment among others like prostheses which have been given to hundreds of injured workers – all totalling over N6 billion. In the first and second quarters of 2023 alone, the fund has paid about 8,000 claims.
“For example Your Excellency, we currently have a worker who died in the course of work and whose family is being paid N1,350,000 monthly, which is 90% of the deceased salary. The payment will continue till 2038 when his last son will be twenty-one years old in line with our establishing act.”
“We also didn’t lose sight of the welfare of our staff. We have reviewed the condition of service last done in 2004 as well as reviewed the salary structure that has been in use since ten years ago to improve the lots of our workforce and boost their morale.
“We are currently digitising our processes to enthrone transparency and accountability as well as ease the operation of these processes for customers and staff members.”
She commended Senator Akume on a well-deserved appointment and highlighted his immense contributions to the growth of the nation.