10, 000 injured workers, survivors get N1b from NSITF scheme in eight years
The Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) has paid over N1billion to 10,000 injured workers and dependents of dead workers since the inception of the Employees Compensation Scheme (ECS) in July 2011.
Head, Claim and Compensations Department of the Fund, Chris Esedebe, who disclosed this in Abuja at an interactive forum with stakeholders of ECS, added that there were also 495 disability beneficiaries on the Fund’s payroll as at August 2019.
Esedebe hinted that the NSITF has equally processed over 13,000 disability benefits amounting to more than N300 million since the inception of the scheme.
He explained that the scheme has taken the burden of care off employers saying, “ordinarily by labour laws, it is the sole responsibility of the employer to cater to the needs of workers especially those that sustain an injury in the course of work. They are also expected to take care of the work environment to prevent workers from sustaining an injury in the course of working.
“When workers know that they will be taken care of by the Scheme, they will work without inhibition which will boost national productivity and boost employer-employee relationship within the work environment.”
Delivering a paper on the benefits of the scheme, Deputy General Manager, Claims, and Compensations department, Nkiru Ogunnaike also said for a worker to benefit from the scheme, he must be an employee of an employer registered under the scheme and sustain an accident in the course of work.
She added that employees or employers must fill the necessary ECS forms of the accident, disease or death from the employer or employee to the nearest NSITF office within 21days.
She insisted that although the scheme is tagged ‘employees’ scheme’, there are equal benefits for employers when they join the scheme.
Ogunnaike added: “This will relieve the employer of the heavy burden of solely taking care of injured worker (medical expenses refunds). It maintains the payment of compensation to the injured worker even after cessation of business by the employer.
“Payment to the injured worker is made regularly without recourse to the employer, no matter the amount of liability and ultimately increases the productivity of the workforce.”
She also said by establishing the scheme, the government has improved the status of Nigeria within the comity of nations and demonstrates its willingness to improve the welfare care of the workforce.
“The scheme portrays Nigeria as a responsible member of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) that prioritises the welfare of its workforce in the public and private sectors. The scheme has also created a pool of investible funds and promotes industrial peace that enhances economic development,” she stated.
Ogunnaike declared that the scheme has also ensured that dependents of deceased workers are no longer at the mercy of family members, as their entitlements are paid directly to spouses of workers who die in the course of duty.
She said: “In the event of death, immediate family and beneficiaries are taken care of until the last child attains the age of 21 years or graduates from university (whichever comes first). The ECS also guarantees the continued provision of shelter, education, food, etc. to survivors.”
Managing Director of Ivado Universal Options, Chukwu Onyeabor, who said he reluctantly joined the scheme is 2015, lauded the scheme for timely reimbursement of expenditure spent on rehabilitating one of his injured workers, while NSITF was working on payment to the spouse of one of the staff that died in service.
“The scheme provides the rest of mind to employers because they no longer have to worry about what to do when workers sustain an injury. The ECS makes adequate provision for the rehabilitation of not only injured workers, but also take care of survivors of workers who die in service.
“Even when employers spent some money to treat workers, the NSITF, upon presentation of the necessary papers, reimburses such expenditure. One of my staff that sustained an injury is benefitting, while the spouse of another that died on the job is on the verge of beginning to enjoy survivor benefit.”