INFORMAL sector workers can access benefits of the ‘Employees Compensation’ scheme from the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSIT) in case of any eventuality if they can prevail on their employers to enrol them in the scheme.
Many Nigerian informal sector employees are not yet enrolled in the NSITF scheme, a situation that could see them lose out on compensations for them, as prescribed by the Employees Compensation Act.
The Act, among other things, seeks to provide fair, guaranteed and adequate compensations for all insured employees in case of any injury, disease, disability or death arising out of, or in the course of employment.
It is further geared towards rehabilitating employees who suffer work–related injuries, disabilities, or occupational diseases.
The NSITF said it has commenced the sensitisation and enrolment of informal sector workers into the scheme, a situation that would see a large pool of them enrol in the scheme.
“Already, we have reached out to the Small and Medium Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) and the Abuja Chamber of Commerce to get more people from the informal sector,” the General Manager, Informal Sector at the NSITF, Shehu Abubakar, said at an interactive session with the media.
Abubakar said his department at the NSITF had already engaged many unions across the country on the need to enrol into the scheme.
What is the benefit to a worker that enrols in the scheme
Enrolled workers are entitled to seek for compensation, as prescribed by the Employee’s Compensation Act, 2010.
Enrolled workers, whether in the formal or informal sector, will benefit from the Employees Compensation Act, only if their offices had been enrolled in the scheme.
NSITF shares experience of benefiting workers
The NSITF, at the media interaction, shared the experiences of enrolled workers who benefited from the scheme.
The Manager, Corporate Affairs of the NSITF, Ijeoma Oji Okoronkwo, told the ICIR at the session that the Fund had successfully paid a total of N306,554,896.23 as claims and compensation to registered employers, employees, and their dependents in the last four months.
Okoronkwo, while encouraging workers to encourage their employees to enrol in the scheme, explained that the compensations cover medical expenses refund, loss of productivity, disability benefits to injured employees, death benefits to next-of-kin of deceased employees, and retirement benefits to disabled employees.
She disclosed that about N5,907,421.80 was paid as benefits to the next-of-kin employees of the International Breweries Plc, who died in the course of their jobs.
According to Okoronkwo, “As far as compliance is concerned, I can affirm that the NSITF has successfully processed a total of 23,455 employees compensation service applications from across the 56 branches of the fund, and issued 22,761 employees compensation certificates within the period under review.”
She noted that the fund had begun the process of automating all of its processes through the E-NSITF project, as approved by the Federal Executive Council.
What is the benefit of E-NSITF
The E-NSITF is expected to make more finances available for compensation of claims’ requests by blocking possible leakages and facilitating ease of doing business.
The E-NSITF, when it comes into effect, is expected to increase contributions of employees to the pool of fund, block all financial and productivity leakages, improve service delivery of the fund to its stakeholders, prevent the loss of the funds, and provide information to guide management’s decisions.
The Managing Director of the NSITF, Michael Akabogu, represented by the Executive Director, Administration, Maureen Allagoa, said operational activities were in the process of being automated in the E-NSITF project.
“The E-NSITF project will, among other benefits, block all financial and productivity leakages within the Fund, and measure staff productivity,” Akabogu said.