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NSITF Targets Informal Sector, Rural Dwellers As It Expands Social Security Net Coverage In 2024

“We are poised to cover more areas of succor and reliefs to the victims of workplace accidents or their dependents in line with our mandate.”

The Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) has revealed a plan to further increase the population of Nigerians registered in the employee compensation scheme.

To this end, the agency said it would create new branches and service centres in 2024, to expand social services to the doorstep of all Nigerians in line with the social inclusion standards of the ILO Convention 102.

In a New Year message signed by the Fund’s General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Nwachukwu Godson, the Managing Director of the NSITF, Maureen Allagoa, was quoted to have assured Nigerian workers of better days ahead.

Allagoa said the agency would consolidate its 2023 achievements while expanding the percentage of the population protected by social security scheme.

She stated, “We are expanding our operations into the informal sector and other unreached areas in dire need of our services so as to save more people from lacerating social conditions.

“We will create new branches to this end as well as build service delivery centres to be activated in select regions as pilot, in the first quarter of 2024. The focus is to reach Nigerians in the remote hinterland while reducing commuting distance for our staff members.”

The MD said with the delivery of social security benefits under different compensation packages to over 103,000 beneficiaries in the past years, the NSITF was poised to break new grounds in the new year.

“We are poised to cover more areas of succor and reliefs to the victims of workplace accidents or their dependents in line with our mandate. But it is important to point out that this number, 103,000 beneficiaries, does not include 11 injured workers, whose conditions were so severe they couldn’t be treated in Nigeria and had to be flown abroad and over one hundred workers who had to be provided with artificial limbs.  

“It does not also include the 670 dependent beneficiaries and 852 disability beneficiaries currently on our monthly payroll, besides a number of deceased dependents under our care, pending the graduation of their last child from higher institution or attains 21 years of age.

“These are visible achievements which form the base of our plans for the New Year, of course, encouraged by the wider operation coverage as well as challenges occasioned by the directive of the  Secretary to the Government of the Federation, following FEC approval, that all the MDAs comply with the mandatory  Employees’ Compensation contributions,” Allagoa said.

As part of efforts to ensure occupational safety and health of workers in line with the ILO Convention C155, the Managing Director said that NSITF’s  plan for 2024, was to reduce workplace accidents, with an expected 1,344 inspections and trainings.  According to her, this is to reduce risk at work, promote a healthy workforce and enhance national productivity.

“Our plan is to conduct 1,344 workplace inspections and accident prevention trainings, at an average of two exercises in a month from our 56 branches,” she added.   

On the poverty reduction component of the mandate of the NSITF, Allagoa pledged that the agency would tap areas of the ILO Convention 102 on old age benefits, unemployment and family benefits, saying that timelines have been set for the expansion of the agency’s corporate social responsibility programmes on skills acquisition and empowerment. According to her, the fund is optimistic of championing the poverty reduction mantra of President Tinubu’s 8-Point Agenda.

With regard to staff welfare, Allagoa said the NSITF had commenced the payment of N35,000 wage award approved by the Federal government.

She also said that the management had reviewed the staff conditions of service and is implementing the new consolidated salary structure.

Allagoa, however, said that NSITF was still grappling with challenges impeding the fulfillment of NSITF  mandate.

One of such challenges was the continued deduction of 40 percent from employer contributions by the Ministry of Finance as an operating surplus in line with the Fiscal Responsibility and Finance Act of 2020, amounting to N1.4 billion, despite the fact that the NSITF was not a revenue-generating agency.

Allagoa, said another challenge was how to get Ministries, Departments and Agencies to clear the arrears of contributions to the scheme from 2012 to date.

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

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