Why employees compensation is not in conflict with health insurance, by NSITF
The implementation of Employees Compensation Scheme (ECS) is different from health insurance scheme, the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) has said.
The Acting Managing Director of NSITF, Ismail Agaka, who explained this in Abuja while addressing state commissioners of finance recently, added that ECS, which NSITF implements does not overlap with the functions of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) or any other insurance scheme in the country.
He stressed that ECS has clear terms of definition that do not conflict with any other insurance scheme. Represented by the General Manager, Claims and Compensations, Stephen Bathanna, Agaka said the clarification had become necessary in view of misunderstanding of ECS mandate.
He said that the Employees’ Compensation Act (ECA) of 2010 stipulates that ECS as a social insurance was designed to ensure that employees who suffer injuries from workplace accidents, injuries in the course of work as well as diseases emanating from working conditions or occupational diseases were protected and adequately compensated.
Agaka pointed out that the NHIS covers natural diseases such as malaria, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, among others, that are not categorized as employment related injuries or diseases.
He said: “The beauty of the Employees’ Compensation Scheme is that it is a no fault scheme, meaning that NSITF is not going to be asking questions about who is at fault when a workplace accident happens, but will swiftly compensate the employee when all the statutory forms are duly filled.”
He added that the processes of treating and rehabilitating occupational victims differ from the traditional insurance business. He encouraged the commissioners to see the scheme as a way of boosting the morale of Nigerian workers, which has the capacity to boost productivity.
He, however, urged them to key into the scheme because the law mandates NSITF to implement the scheme as well as prosecute employers that refuse to key into it.
In his remarks, the Commissioner of Finance, Adamawa State and Chairman of the Forum of State Commissioners of Finance, Mahmood Sali commended the NSITF for the noble scheme it was saddled with.
He explained that the scheme, if properly executed, would make Nigerian workers feel protected and propel them to put in their best. He also thanked NSITF for throwing more light on ECS, saying that, “now we know that the Employees’ Compensation Scheme has no direct conflict with the NHIS.”
He pledged support for the scheme and urged his colleagues to go back to their states and come up with a blueprint on how to complement the ECS.
Sali however, implored NSITF to employ an aggressive public awareness approach about the scheme and its benefits to workers, adding that nothing much has been heard about the scheme at the state levels.