OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the non-remittance of contributions to the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) by the Federal, States and Local Governments as well as public corporations and and private companies.
The resolution emanated from a motion sponsored by Mr. Zakaria Nyampa (PDP, Adamawa) and eight others during plenary on Thursday.
Raising the motion, Mr. Nyampa noted that section 33 of the NSITF Act states 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 monthly payroll into the Fund and subsequently, payment will be based on estimates of the employer’s payroll for the year, actual assessment or based on minimum assessment.
He pointed that the private sector players have, to a limited extent, been complying with the provisions of the Act, particularly, in view of Section 16(6)(d) of the Public Procurement Act, 2007 which makes it mandatory for bidders to have fulfilled all obligations to pay taxes, pensions and social security contributions.
The lawmaker however noted that the federal, states, local governments councils as well as parastatals, public corporations and private companies have all failed to make payments of their contributions to the NSITF despite the mandatory provisions of the Act.
According to the lawmaker, the definition of an employer under Section 73 of the Act is broad and covers all levels of government, given that it defines an ‘employer’ to include any individual, body corporate, federal, state or local government, or any of the government agencies, which has entered into a contract of employment to employ any other person as an employee or apprentice.
He expressed worry that by failing, refusing or neglecting to pay the statutory contributions to the Fund, governments at all levels are not only violating the law but are equally exposing the vast majority of the Nigerian workforce to uninsured and uncovered risks and occupational hazards, and by extension, the large pool of workers cannot be compensated for injuries, mental stress, occupational hazards, hearing impairments, total/partial disability or disfigurement, among others.
“If this anomaly is not addressed, civil and public servants will continue to be short-changed and remain at the receiving end of a system that exposes them to occupational hazards, without any form of insurance or compensation”, he said.
The motion was adopted by the House without debate when the presiding officer, Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, put it to voice vote.
The ad-hoc committee when constituted is expected to report back within six (6) weeks for further legislative action.