BY: Obioma C. Appolos
The Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) said that the reason for delaying its proposed sanction against employers that are yet to comply with the provisions of the Employees Compensation Scheme (ECS) is to give more time for all the stakeholders to understand the implementation processes of the scheme.
Mr Adebayo Somefun, the Managing Director of the Fund, who disclosed this in Abuja when he received the 2018 Buisnessday Public Service award, said that the Fund is more interested in the growth of the scheme and not prioritising punishment of defaulters.
However, he strong warn defaulters not to take the patience of the Fund for granted, as the sanction would eventually be meted to all defaulters, while he added that the Fund is only utilizing the stick and carrot approach.
His words, “We are not relying on the legal aspect to get employers to comply with the ECS yet. We are at this moment concentrating on selling the inherent benefits of the scheme. Eventually, there will be sanction for defaulting. But we are not going into that right now because the scheme is still young. We need to keep talking, persuading and enlightening all our critical stakeholders.”
Furthermore, the MD pointed out that some of the employers that are not participating in the scheme are not only depriving their employees the benefits of compensation when injured, but are denying themselves the opportunity of getting paid for loss of productivity when their workers are injured and in no position to execute their tasks optimally.
“All employers of labour in Nigeria who are not participating in the scheme are denying their employees as well as Nigerians of the benefits of the compensation that this scheme offers. There is no need to worry about occupational hazard because we know that accidents are not planned occurrences and can happen any time. In such times, the employer is insulated from settling medical expenses. In fact, the NSITF pays employers whose staffers are involved in accidents loss of productivity due to the inability of such workers to perform their duties. Again, if an employee dies in the course of duty, 90% of his total remuneration is paid to the spouse until the last child is 21 years old or graduate from the university. For example, if a worker dies while his last child is six months old, for the next 21 years, that family will receive 90% of the terminal income of the deceased. So, there is no need to run to any uncle or family members when a worker dies in the course of work.” He said.
Represented by the General Manager, Administration of NSITF, Segun Bashorun, at the occasion, Mr Somefun added that the scheme seeks to protect the integrity of the family, boost education and insulate families against becoming destitute after the demise of their breadwinner.
“With 90% of remuneration of the deceased paid directly to his wife, the standard of the family will not drop drastically. The beauty of this scheme is that the money is paid directly to the spouse and not to any extended family. So, families cannot get their hands on it. It is not a next-of-kin matter at all. Other benefits like gratuities and group life assurance are paid to whoever is the next-of-kin.” His words.
Meanwhile, He hinted that the that the Fund presently pays 332 families monthly death benefits, and is reinforcing its safety activities in year.
He also said; “We have placed about 1,000 of our staffers on safety management. This will empower us to descend into the work arena to exercise one of our major mandates, which is to enforce health and safety in the work environment.”