Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has renewed appeal to government and employers of labour to consciously remit their contribution to the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) as mandated by the nation’s extant laws.
NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said it was only through such contribution, that the social protection policy of the government operated by the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) would succeed
Wabba, who spoke on Wednesday when the management of the NSITF visited the NLC secretariat in Abuja, said Labour had written to the government informing them of the failure of government agencies to remit government contribution to the NSITF.
He said: “In recent times, we had to write to the government to remit the contribution because we realized that their contribution is not being remitted to this very important organization. Infact, it is only the worker’s contribution which the employers remit that has been funding the activities. It is a two way issue and the law ought to be respected by government.
“I had course to officially write to the acting president and catalogued the amount of liability that the government need to pay to make sure that those services are improved upon because at the end of the day it impacts on productivity, occupational health and safety and social security.
“A copy was given to the minister and the issue was discussed at the Federal Executive Council (FEC), a small committee put to look at the issue of reconciliation and see how the process can be pushed forward.”
The NLC President drew attention to the issue of workmen compensation which he said needed to extended to all employers of Labour, stressing that presently, the scheme does not cover all workers in both the public and private sector as stipulated in the law establishing it.
He said, “I have seen situations where workers who are at the receiving end will have a workplace accident, some lose their arms, some lose their eyes and at the end of the day the management will just give them 20,000 and dismiss them.
“In most of those cases, when they come to our attention, whether they are unionized or not, we try to fight for their right and this has been the context. We will continue to be very passionate about the issues until all workers in Nigeria are able to have social security cover.”
While assuring the management of the cooperation of organised Labour, he said, “NLC is one of the social partners that worked over the years with the organisationn. In fact, We are not merely social partners, we are critical stakeholders because the work of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund impact directly on the workers who are our members.
“The issue of providing social protection, the issue of occupational health and safety, the issue of work place compensation are part of the rights and privileges of workers and over the years, we have worked assiduously with with NSITF to advance some of those issues.
“Infact, in the last amendment to the law, there was a process that was driven by organized Labour and we have also, at various periods provided leadership to the organization.
“This is the level of cooperation that has existed with the NLC because at the formation stage right from the time of the national providence fund, it has been an idea that the NLC has participated. That is why all through those years, we have worked with the organization to see how workers can benefit from those very important and critical services which are already part of their employment benefits and condition of service.
“I hope that under this new NSITF management, the working relationship we have had over the years will continue. We will also have to work with you to actualise the goals of the Organisation.
“I assure you that we will remain partners in progress and try to support initiatives that will advance all of those issues that the organization stands for.
“We have no doubt in the quality of people we have nominated, which include Deputy President and the Treasurer, Ibrahim Khaleel and we are sure they will work with you and see how the mandate of the organization can be driven to the next level. I assure you that NLC will effectively play its role.”
Managing Director of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Adebayo Somefun, said the fund was working out ways to fast-trade payment of compensation and to allow branches and regional offices to pay compensation from their end instead of coming to Abuja.
He said the new management came on board to consolidate on the achievements of the previous administration by improving on existing systems, automating the place and making the place more transparent, raise the revenue and meet statutory responsibilities in other to be able to pay workers.
He said further that the new management plan to rebrand NSITF through public enlightenment and awareness and to improve welfare of the staff which we have started by paying some of the furniture allowance that has not been paid for some time, I believe that will strengthen, encourage and motivate the staff to work harder.
For a better society.