The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has instructed the newly inaugurated Board of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), to carry out screening of the academic qualifications and National Youth Service Corporation (NYSC) certificates of all staff of the Fund within the next eight weeks.
Following the dismissal of the former Managing Director, Dr. Mickeal Akabogu, due to a false NYSC certificate, Chief Emmanuel Nwosu was appointed the new board chairman of the NSITF and Mrs. Maureen Allagoa, the new Managing Director/Chief Executive, along with 12 other board members by President Muhammadu Buhari. The newly appointed board members are expected to run the affairs of the Organisation for the next three years.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony held at the State House in Abuja, Ngige lamented that the Fund has consistently made the news but for the wrong reasons.
He said: “The life of the last Management Board had just expired and a new Management Board is being put in place today to continue the management and administration of the affairs of the Fund. By its enabling statute, the membership of the NSITF Management Board is mostly institutional and ex-officio in composition.
“This means that relevant Institutions along the tripartite lines are required to send in representatives to the Board. The Institutions are – the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) representing the Federation of workers, the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) representing all Employers in Nigeria, and the Government (Federal Ministry of Labour & Employment, and the Central Bank of Nigeria).
“In the current reconstitution, some old members have been retained and new appointments have been made. I would point out that in these appointments and re-appointment; capacity capabilities and past performance were used as yardsticks.
“In so doing, it was discovered based on previous non-performance at work and subsequent investigations carried out due to whistle blowing to the Nigeria Police that the former Managing Director/Chief Executive of the Fund, Mr. Michael Akabogu had forged a Certificate of National Service which was further confirmed by the NYSC Headquarters when the NYSC replied and reconfirmed same to our independent enquiry.
“In order to maintain, protect and promote a very viable and thriving Organisation, I have four major tasks before the new Management Board of the NSITF: to screen and vet the Academic and NYSC Certificates of all staff in the Fund; to ensure the full implementation of the NSITF Restructuring Report; to ensure the urgent conclusion of the E-NSITF Phase I and Phase II to enable maximum collection of Contributions from the Public and Private Sectors as well as inch into the Informal sector of the Economy.”
Ngige noted that the Public Sector which is within the dimension of the formal economy will need intensification of operational drive to ensure that the Governments, both National and Sub-Nationals, move fast to give universal coverage to all the workers in Nigeria.
“The State Governments so far have been non-compliant to the Employees’ Compensation (EC) Act, 2010 which is a national Law,” he stated.
He further implored the new board to ensure that a new NSITF is born, one that is noted for accountability, transparency, and other principles characteristics of good governance.
“On this note, I will call on all employers of labour in the nation to eschew subjectivity and to objectively abide by the provisions of the EC Act 2010 and all its benefits to the workplace occupational safety and health. The EC Act 2010 is a National Law which drew from the provisions of the International Labour Organisation Convention No. 102, and replaced the old Workmen Compensation Act.” He said
Finally, the Minister urged employers to consistently make their duly statutory contributions to the Fund for the social security of their workers and aid nationally in the promotion of the decent work agenda.
“At this point, we may note that the International Labour Conference (ILC) at its 110th session in June 2022 decided to make a safe and healthy (OSH) working environment a fundamental principle and right at work with consequential effect on other workplace.
“Declarations of the ILO as safe and healthy working conditions were acknowledged as fundamental to decent work. The work of the Fund would not be limited to EC implementation and enforcement but is intended to be expanded in the future to include some other critical and thematic areas of the ILO Convention no. 102 which the Government of Nigeria, in tripartite consultation with the Social Partners, intends to ratify in parts due to its expansiveness,” he added in conclusion.