NSITF mulls compensation for victims of workplace accident
Pays N2b since inception
Plans are underway by the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) to settle claims and compensation of workers that sustain injury in the workplace within 14 working days.The Executive Director, Operations NSITF, Mrs Kemi Nelson, who stated this yesterday in Abuja at a workshop on the operationalization of 14 days timeline for claims processing, insisted that the feat is achievable.
She said: “Processing workplace injury claims within 14 working days is feasible if everyone is committed. What are doing is to encourage our staffers to device means of achieving the feat. I am optimistic that with the calibre of staff we have, paying those that sustain injury in the workplace within 14 is doable.”
She hinted that the informal sector is being gradually integrated into the Employees Compensation Scheme (ECS), saying, “we are making conscious efforts at ensuring that the informal sector is integrated into operation. We are planning to go into the market to meet market women and other critical stakeholders with a view to making them a part of the Scheme.”
Mrs Nelson, who warned defaulters against sabotaging the implementation of the scheme, submitted that NSITF would not hesitate to prosecute the recalcitrant companies.On his part, Head, Claims and Compensation of NSITF, Chris Esedebe, said the 14-day timeline can be met once the necessary documentation is made.
His explanation: “Processing workplace injury claims within 14 working days is feasible. Once all the documents that are needed are complete and passed on to the regional office by the branch office, the 14 days countdown begins. It will move swiftly from the regional office to the Managing Director and then to the Executive Director Operation all within 24. We envisage that such claims will not be more than four days in the claims and compensation department and then to audit, finance and other relevant departments, down to payment and control.”
He, however, was quick to caution that not all claims can be done within 14 days.He said: “There are some claims and compensations that are regarded as exceptional such as the need to carry out further medical services and provision of equipment. Also, claims and compensations that have legal issues would not be processed within 14 working days.
“We have a checklist that prescribes what is needed to be done such as medical report that must be from a medical facility and must be signed by medical professionals with accompanied receipts. Where our curiosity has been alerted such as high medical bill, we have a medical team that compares such bills with what we call ‘standard medical tariff’ that we use to ensure that we do not have too high or too low charges.”
He added that the NSITF has been empowered by the law to go further to verify if a medical facility truly exists and complied with the required standards.He also revealed that NSITF has paid about N2 billion as claims and compensation in the last seven years of operation, adding, “this figure is strictly cash payment. There are other claims and compensations that were provided in non-cash forms like process that cannot be quantified in financial terms.”
Esedebe identified incomplete data by employers and inadequate funding as key challenges confronting the implementation of the ECS.He also lauded the Managing Director of NSITF, Adebayo Somefun for creation of a ‘special fund’ to ensure all claims and compensations are settled at all times without any hitches.
He added: “Lack of complete data by employers and legal issues are challenges that confront the implementation of the ECS. Of course paucity of fund is and has always been an issue but the present management under the headship of Adebayo Somefun has found an ingenuity way of going round it by creating a special account solely for the payment of claims and compensation. So, we are not short in the payment of claims and compensation. Any claim and compensation that is properly processed and matured is paid off immediately.”
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