OrderPaperToday – The Nigeria Extractives International Industry (NEITI) has called on the the National Assembly to review the National Employee Compensation Act to allow for transparency, accountability and implementation of workers contributions and benefits as at when due.
The transparency outfit also tasked the Budget Office to capture all agencies of government on the budget template so that contributions to the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) can be done easily.
Mr. Donald Tyochimin, the representative of NEITI made the following recommendations during a public hearing organized by an adhoc committee of the House of Representatives on Monday in Abuja.
The hearing is on ‘the investigation of the non-remittance of contributions into the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) by the federal, States and local governments parastals, public cooperation and companies from 2010 to date’.
According to Mr. Tyochimin, NEITI as a regulatory agency has a “specific challenge emanating from the budget office in respect to budgeting template for all government agencies which requires all agencies of government to put the names, positions, grade levels and states of their employees in the cost of planning. We have made case with the budget office on this issue.”
He said “since this is an investigative hearing I would like the national assembly to take cognizance of some these peculiarities that the agencies are having so that they would be able to advise the Permanent Secretary of (Ministry of labour and Productivity) accordingly.
“This committee can also look at other provisions of the Employees Compensation Act. I draw attention particularly to section 4, sub section 1- 4 of the pension act 2014 as it has to do with the rate of contributions and benefits of employees which till date is not being applied”.
Speaking earlier, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Williams Alo, enjoined the legislature to come up with stiffer penalties that could discourage defaulters.
He also warned that any deductions from salaries of employers should be reported as it was criminal to do so.
“I must say public awareness of the scheme has been relatively low. All responses, and compliance of federal, States and local governments have been very very discouraging. The unwillingness of employers labour to comply is also a challenge and under declaration of staff strength and promotion is another factor. Workers should report deductions from their salaries in the name of NSITF because it negates the law.
On his part, the Chairman of the adhoc committee, Mr. Sada Soli (APC, Katsina) accused government agencies of laxity and non-compliance to the social scheme leading to the suffering and eventual deaths of some public servants.
Sada lamented that “the fact that government and all its Agencies are guilty of this laxity, is capable of giving the impression that we do not prioritize the social security and welfare scheme that provides comprehensive compensation to workers who suffer from occupational diseases or sustained injuries arising from accidents at work place or in the course of employment. We must begin to show more compassion towards the fate of our workers, especially in their weakest moments.
“We must remember that the whole idea behind the NSITF was to ensure the Employee’s Compensation Act of 2010, which provides a guaranteed and adequate compensation for all workers and their dependants for any death, injury, disease or disability in the course of their employment”.