NSITF Has Recorded N17bn in Savings, Says Ngige

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Chris Ngige

*Gives management January deadline to re-adjust salary structure

Onyebuchi Ezigbo

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has disclosed that the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) made savings of N17 billion in the last six months. Ngige said as part of measures to motivate the staff of NSITF, he had given its management up till end of January to re-adjust the salary structure of the staff.

The minister said he had also gave the agency another three months deadline to fully automate its operations.

He was quoted as saying these at the weekend in an address at the closing ceremony of a two-day Management Performance Review in Abuja.

According to a statement signed by Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations, Mr. Charles Akpan, the minister said the NSITF had progressively grown its savings from N2 billion in 2020 to N17 billion in the last six months.

He added, “When in July 2020 the president approved the suspension and later removal of the former management of the NSITF after over three years in office, the fund’s savings was at a paltry sum of N2 billion.

“The acting management of Kelly Nwagha who bridged the gap for less than a year, moved the savings to N8 billion and in six months, the current management under Mike Akabogu has moved it to N17 billion.”

Ngige expressed regret that the previous management of NSITF did not re-adjust the staff salary when it was due. He described the new management as being worker-friendly.

Ngige added, regarding the new management, “Unlike the politicians before them, they have not given themselves N10 million for vacation with their spouses. Even though it is there in the operational manual, but I advised them that it is immoral for them to do so when some staff members cannot afford house rents, that the strategic reform they set for themselves must be all-inclusive and they paid heed.

“We discovered very sadly that the NSITF has not re-adjusted staff salary but it is not the fault of this management, but that of preceding ones who didn’t think about the lowly placed persons.

We discovered it and have given them an ultimatum to do so by the end of January 2022.”
Ngige told the NSITF management that other incentives for the workers would be tied to performance.

He stated, “If you improve your contributions before the end of March, all your allowances will be reviewed. So, all the staff must sit up. A new system is here to reward hard work. The era of clocking in at 8:30am to sleep and clock out 4pm is over.

“The more target you meet in terms of returns, generation of contributions, the more the incentive. When you exceed your target, there must be a way of saying thank you. You must leave the NSITF of old and brace up for the new NSITF, where there will be special promotions for outstanding performance. There will also be a review of condition of service.”

The minister charged the management to fully automate the operations of the agency within three months, in line with the global trend.

In addition, he directed that the management performance review be made more frequent, every month, especially for those in operations, using virtual platforms, to bridge the gap in communication between the branches, zones and the headquarters.

Ngige said, “Information on every aspect of this agency should prop up at the touch of a button. It saves cost, saves time, and promotes synergy, efficiency and transparency, which is a bulwark against fraud.

“You must achieve this in three months. Both ITF and FIRS are organisations you should be competing with, but they have left you behind,”

The minister directed that every contract given by NSITF must be in line with the Public Procurement Act and must be done based on needs assessment, vowing that the era of procurement just for sake of it was over.