OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has summoned the Ministers of Finance, Kemi Adeosun; Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma; Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige; and Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris to explain the non-remittance of contributions by three tiers of government and their agencies into the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) from 2010 to date.
The ministers are to appear on Tuesday before members of the ad-hoc committee investigating the matter.
Chairman of the ad-hoc committee, Mr. Chukwuka Onyema while issuing the summons on Monday, charged the NSITF to within 24 hours provide details of MDAs that have paid and those that are yet to pay to enable the ad-hoc committee confront the issue properly.
Delivering his remarks, Onyema said government at all levels should be aware that failure to register and pay the statutory contributions to the NSITF is a gross violation of the law.
He further said that violating the law exposed the vast majority of Nigeria’s workforce to uninsured and uncovered risk, and occupational hazard which could not be compensated for.
In his contribution, Director, 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 Employee’s 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.
He said: “However, since inception only three states have registered with the scheme. Bauchi, Taraba and Gombe have registered with the scheme but 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 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.”
Somefun said that the scheme encourages safety in workplace 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.
The Fund also accused the Nigeria Police Force of owing N16.2 billion from 2011 to 2017, a claim that was countered by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Ishaku Mohammed who represented the Inspector General of Police.
Mohammed said the NSITF never asked the Nigeria Police to pay the fund after a letter was sent to them by the Federal government that they should be exempted from contributing to the fund.
According to him, in 2013 over three thousand police personnel lose their lives due to insurgency and “we’ve not been able to pay their families.”