NSITF to extend coverage of compensation scheme to informal sector
Plans are underway by the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) to expand the scope of the Employees’ Compensation (ECS) scheme to include the informal sector of the economy.
The Managing Director of the Fund, Adebayo Somefun stated this at the just-concluded Art and Culture Expo organised by the National Council of Arts and Culture (NCAC) in Abuja.
The NSITF boss explained that the move is intended to ensure that more workers benefit from the ECS coverage in order to execute their tasks without fear of occupational injuries.
Somefun explained that though the informal sector is difficult to organise, mechanisms would be put in place to organise them into groups for ease of administration.
His words: “Most of the people in the informal sector do not stable income, therefore making it extremely difficult to treat them in the way that the formal sector is treated. The formal sector pays salaries at the end of the month to its workforce while income is not organised in the informal sector.”
He submitted that it is important for the informal sector to buy into the social security schemes, saying, “The sector needs to understand, know and be convinced that the health insurance, contributory pension and employees’ compensation schemes are all geared towards ensuring good life for all the workers. Integrating them into the scheme is a certainty if the country is desirous of covering most of its citizens but the process has to be gradual.”
He hinted that Fund is liaising with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), State Boards of Inland Revenue, Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Federal Inland Revenue Services to get a comprehensive data of registered companies in the country.
While the updating of records of existing organisations in its database is on going, he said the Fund has also put measures in place to encourage the 774 local government councils in the country key into the scheme.
According to Somefun, discussions and talks with non-treasury funded organisations and other agencies yet to key into the scheme are being pursued.
The NSITF helmsman, who bemoaned the high number of defaulting organisations, revealed that the management is already partnering with National Assembly committee with oversight functions on recalcitrant employers to enforce total compliance on defaulters.
He explained that the urgent need for more companies and workers to join the scheme informed the decision of the Fund to participate in trade fairs and culture expos.
“What we have been trying to do is to reach out to employers of labour and employees wherever they can be found. We know that a lot of people attend trade fairs and that presents an opportunity to meet them there.”
“The NSITF decided to attend the art and craft expo in Abuja because we discovered that a lot of foreign countries participate in the fair to showcase their cultural wares. At the expo, we were able to meet some embassies. Indeed, our stand was sandwiched between some embassies’ stands. The Indian embassy said it was not aware that employees’ compensation scheme exists in Nigeria. The embassy then invited us to their office to make presentation to their staff,” he said.
He said the focus of the NSITF is to broaden its reach for more Nigerians to be aware of the scheme and how to participate for the overall benefit of the working people.
The NSITF emerged the best participating government agencies/corporate bodies at the Art and Culture Expo organised by the National Council of Arts and Culture (NCAC).
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