Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume has assured that the mandatory one per cent deduction from Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government (MDAs) as workers’ contributions to the Employee Compensation of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) would be given every necessary attention.
Former President Muhammadu Buhari had at the Extraordinary Session of Federal Executive Council held on May 15, 2023, given approval for one per cent mandatory deductions from the source of the MDAs’ emoluments as Employee Compensation contributions, with retroactive effect from January 2023.
A statement by the General Manager, Corporate Affairs of the NSITF, Mr. Nwachukwu Godson quoted Akume as having given the assurance on Tuesday, during a courtesy visit on him by the executive and management of the NSITF led by its Managing Director, Maureen Allagoa.
According to the statement, Akume said: “I have a fair knowledge of what you do because my friend and colleague at that time (last administration) the former Minister of Labour, used to talk to me about the fund and its challenges.
“It was on the basis of his presentation that the decision to deduct one per cent from the MDAs was taken. This is a matter for implementation. I have already minuted to the Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Affairs Office to attach some of these conclusions to enable me take action.”
Akume said the NSITF has a lot to offer, “too much to offer to the Nigerian workers in both private and public sectors of the economy,” adding that injuries suffered by workers in the private sector and in the public sector were such that if you don’t come to their aide, they might be crippled for life.
“It is therefore a matter for concern that this (1% deductions from the MDAs) has not yet been implemented but given the fact that this was only concluded in May 2023, you understand why we are yet to act on this.
“There were so many conclusions towards the end of the tenure of the last administration and I believe this was done in good faith and so we treat it on its own merit.
“I hence thank and assure that you will hear from us as soon as the cabinet affairs office concludes what I asked them to do,” he added.
Earlier in her address, Allagoa acquainted Akume with the history, achievements and challenges of the Fund, sought the assistance of the SGF towards the implementation of the compulsory employee compensation for all public servants as approved by the Federal Executive Council in May 2023.
She said, “We are yet to achieve the implementation of this approval that is key to the fundamental repositioning of the Fund. This same FEC approval gives a directive for a universal implementation of the compensation scheme across all tiers of government by directing the Attorney General of the Federation(AGF) to liaise with the Attorney Generals in the thirty-six states of the Federation towards achieving this.”
She said the NSITF since 2010, has registered 14, 000 employers which translates to over 7.4 million employees, majorly from the organised private sector.
“We are also currently making inroads into the informal sector but seriously handicapped in the public sector despite FEC’s approval of May 15, 2023, authorising the implementation of Employees’ Compensation for all public servants through a compulsory one percent deduction from the source of emoluments of the MDAs,” she said.