Monday, November 30, 2015

Ngige wants sanction for defaulters under Employee Compensation Scheme

Nigeria's Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige has expressed displeasure over low level of compliance with the provisions of the law establishing the Employee Compensation Scheme while advocating stiff sanction for defaulting employers.

Speaking at a meeting with management staff of the Nigeria Social insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) in his office, the minister said there was the need to review the law establishing the scheme to include more stringent penalties for employers who fail to register their employees with the Scheme.

The Minister who said that the compliance level by employers to the scheme was not encouraging, stressed that the government will no longer tolerate non compliance with the provisions of the Act establishing the scheme, pointing out that he has yet to hear of prosecution of employers for non-compliance.

He directed the management of the NSITF to brief the Nigeria Governors Forum about the benefits derivable from allowing their workers to participate in the scheme stressing that it would be a more effective way to get the states come on board.

According to him, "We have no option but to push the ECS to performance level. There is no doubt that the idea is a great one. We must however ensure that Nigerians feel the positive impact of this initiative. I think that the management has to engage the governor through the Governors Forum so that we can explain the advantages of this scheme to governors.

"I believe that stipend to be paid on employees salaries are small to the advantages that the Scheme gives to workers especially when they are injured in the course of work. I believe every governor would be happy to hear about the numerous advantages that their workers stand to benefit by joining the Schme.

"Therefore, the management must find a way to speak to all the governors at their forum through presentations on what the Scheme is all about. It is not acceptable that no employer has been sanctioned for non-compliance especially when cases or non-compliance abound. This must change."

He maintained that the operations of the Fund could be further enhanced through an inter-agency collaboration with agencies like National Directorate for Employment (NDE), noting that such collaboration could provide the ?Fund with much needed data to expand its frontiers.

Speaking earlier, Managing Director of NSITF, Umar Abubakar told the Minister that lack of comprehensive data of all employees on government payroll and non-compliance by state governments and many organizations in the private sector were some of the challenges confronting the Fund.

He disclosed that the Fund had installed computer software that would greatly enhance its operations through a partnership with Oracle systems, saying the computerization project has earned the Fund an ISO 27001:2013 certification.

He explained that the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Turin, Italy, continually train NSITF staff on the global best practice in social security, stressing that available data speaks volume to how much the Fund has delivered in terms of claims and benefits in response to claim requests submitted to it.

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