By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
The Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) said it has raised N180 billion from contributors in the last ten years.
Managing Director of NSIF Dr. Michael Akabogu disclosed this in Abuja on Thursday when he and the new management team addressed journalists on developments in the Fund.
According to him, “we have collected both from the private sector who have contributed about 80 percent of the total revenue and from the government and all other agencies, we have raised about N180billion over 10 years, from inception. July 2011-May 30th 2021”.
The team believes that the contribution could have been better if all employers made their contributions as at when due. The Head of Enforcement of the NSITF Mr. Lateef Musa disclosed that “the scheme has registered almost 200,000 employers generally but only 170,000 are actively making their contributions steadfastly”.
To encourage contributions from employers, the NSITF is putting up a platform that will allow it process claims and pay claims to injured workers in 10 to 11 days.
According to Dr. Michael Akabogu “before we had a 14-day period – the time that the case is reported to the time that the payment is made we decided that we have to develop an electronic platform which is currently in progress, that would enable us monitor the movement of the files, so instead of the 14 days, we are targeting 10-11 days. At least we will be able to shed off three days”.
Speaking on the financial scandal that has rocked the Scheme in recent times, the NSITF MD stated that “it will never happen again”. According to him, “in the next few months, we have to work together to ensure that our operations are automated so as to be able us cut off some of these little issues”.
Of particular concern to the new team in NSITF is that “some times people make payments but it doesn’t get to the state branches of the Fund because of some nuisances that disguise themselves as NSTIF officials and agencies”.
“They send various mails using the name of NSITF and the people that fall pray to that send money to them thinking that they are our agents, these are some of the things we have to make sure that we cut down on” he said.
The MD warned unsuspecting Nigerians that “you might come across these ponzi schemes that ask people to pay money into an NSITF account after which the amount will be doubled. Those are not NSITF members”.
To enforce remittances, the new management of NSITF said “if deductions are made from employees’ salaries, it is an offense that is punishable by fines and imprisonment. Over the years we have been using a persuasive method to get employers to pay fines for wrongful deductions from employees’ salaries, but now our legal arm has been activated, employers who refuse to pay fines will be taken to court and followed up to ensure that they pay what is due”.
The new management he added, “has also given an instruction for the names of all erring employers to be listed and submitted for appropriate prosecutions”.