Chairperson, NSITF Board, Dr. Ngozi Olejeme
By Senator Iroegbu
The Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) has intensified efforts to implement Employee Compensation Scheme (ECS), which will bring a big reprieve to both government and private sector employees.
The Chairperson, NSITF Board, Dr. Ngozi Olejeme, made this known recently in Abuja, saying that President Goodluck Jonathan’s government is determined to halt the disturbing trend of non-compensation of employees involved in work-place accidents.
Olejeme said that through the ECS, NSITF involved in compensation management is set to better the lots of Nigerian workers. She disclosed that some Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) experts have revealed that about 50 million people are at risk in the work place.
She hinted that NSITF also facilitates social insurance scheme in workplace through ECS, which will put Nigeria at par with other countries of the world in the area of social security and workers compensation.
She said: “The scheme is so dear to President Jonathan. We’re doing everything possible to guarantee a workable social insurance programme for all categories of Nigerian workers. We are following global best practices, and Nigerians will enjoy the dividends of democracy as studies are being conducted throughout the country to capture the social needs of those outside the formal sector.
“The employer will benefit, the employee will benefit and government will also benefit. So it is social security initiative for the society, ultimately no one will be left untouched,” she added.
Olejeme listed the category of injuries covered under the scheme to include injury within a normal workplace, adding that in such circumstances, compensation is payable to a worker who suffers any disabling injury arising out of or in the course of employment.
“The International Institute of Risk and Safety Management (Nigeria’s chapter), for instance, also say 200 workplace fatalities occur daily in Nigeria. Scores of others are injured or permanently disabled. What used to get the government worry, if the incidents ever filtered out to the media, was the poor compensation plan or lack of one by the employers,” she added.
She emphasised that NSITF has been forth-coming with initiatives, and to that effect has inaugurated a joint committee whose membership comprises Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and NSITF officials.
“Beside ensuring prompt payment of contributions, the eight-man committee is also landed with regular auditing of OSH infrastructure, structure and personnel in contributing companies”, she said. “It is equally expected to examine the extent of compliance with OSH standards across the nation.”