By Ifeanyi Nwoko
The Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) says it would soon begin the process of mandating defaulting employers to register with the fund.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive of the fund, Adebayo Somefun disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
He said that although government has made NSITF registration mandatory for companies executing government contracts, many companies still defaulted.
Somefun added that the NSITF has employed dialogue for too long and will soon have to sue recalcitrant employers who perpetually refuse to heed the calling of the Trust Fund.
He however regretted that the penalty stipulated in its Act for defaulting employers of labour was too small and did not serve in anyway as a deterrent.
The new Managing Director therefore said that the NSITF will seek an amendment to its establishment Act and the Employees Compensation Act so that employers of Labour can be more compelled to enrol.
“Dialogue is very important, we will try to persuade them and also use the apparatus of government and the law. We must mandate them because it is mandatory.
“Where persuasion has failed I believe we can try to mandate them: There have been circulars written but we still have some recalcitrant employers.
“We will still try and persuade them and enforce where necessary, unfortunately the penalty is so small.
“So I believe that this Act also has to be amended to give stiffer penalties,” he said.
He said that he was currently in discussion with his management team about how best to pursue the amendment of the Act to ensure stiffer penalties.
Speaking on the core functions of the NSITF, he said that part of his plans for the fund is to make Nigerians aware of the core functions of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund.
He said that the statutory responsibility of the NSITF was to compensate employees who suffer from occupational diseases, sustain injury or disability from accidents from work place or in the course of employment.
“NSITF provides compensation to the dependants of an employee who dies in the course of work.
“NSITF helps the employer to save for the rainy day,” he said.
He said that the ECA provides a no-fault scheme because it is a social fund which intends to ensure speedy compensation of employees adding that there is both cash and non-cash benefits.
The MD added that any injured employee could be trained or rehabilitated under the NSITF scheme in any vocation that is suitable for their current condition.
He said that the fund had made it a point of duty to complete any request for compensation within two weeks adding that he would work to bring the processing time down to days.
“Compensation has started, that is why you have not seen people carrying placards saying that they have not been paid.
“There is no request for compensation that has been brought to us here that has not been treated and speedily,” he said.