Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Nigeria Employers Consultative Assembly (NECA) has said private sector operators are presently leading contributors to the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).
NECA Director General, Mr. Timothy Olawale, who revealed this in an interview in Abuja shortly after a workshop on the 5th edition of the Safe Workplace Intervention Project (SWIP), said more private sector organisations have now enrolled into the social insurance scheme than its public sector counterpart.
He added that the essence of the SWIP programme was to sensitise employers of labour in the country and to inculcate a culture of safe workplace in their minds.
He noted that the programme was also meant to help improve of safety standards and to encourage others employers who may not have safety standards to do so.
Speaking on employers’ participation in the NSITF and their level of compliance, the NECA boss said: “Over the years, we have discovered that the private sector has become major contributor to the fund even beyond the public sector. So the compliance within the private sector has been growing every year and we discovered from statistics that the rate of compliance has been appreciating every year.”
He explained that although there are sanctions for non-compliance, NECA is working with the NSITF to encourage voluntary compliance by every organisation. Earlier, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, said there has been an improvement in occupational safety and health.
Under the Employees Compensation Act (ECA – 2010) managed by the NSITF, the fund provides for comprehensive payment of compensation to employees who suffer from occupational diseases or sustain injuries arising from accidents at work place or in the course of employment.
Its provisions apply to both employees in public and private sectors of the economy.
Speaking during the interactive session with stakeholders, the NSITF Managing Director, Mr. Adebayo Somefun, said a lot have been achieved in the past few years in the area of improvement in workplace safety and enrolment of more organisations into the scheme.
He, however, noted that some agencies and organisations especially in the public sector are yet to conform to the social insurance scheme, thereby limiting its coverage.
While giving update on its operations, NSITF said it had paid over N1 billion to 10,000 injured workers and dependents of dead workers since the inception of the Employees Compensation Scheme (ECS) in July 2011.
NSITF Head, Claim and Compensations Department, Chris Esedebe, who disclosed this in Abuja at the interactive forum, added that there were also 495 disability beneficiaries on the Fund’s payroll as at August 2019.
Esedebe added that NSITF has processed over 13,000 disability benefits amounting to more than N300 million since the inception of the scheme.