…Calls for better cooperation from stakeholders
By Bimbola Oyesola
The Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), has paid over N700 million as compensation for workers who suffered one degree of injury or the other, including death under the new Employees Compensation Scheme (ECS) in the last five years.
Calling for more support from all stakeholders, employers and the organised labour, the Acting Managing Director of NSITF, Ismail Agaka, at a one day workshop on Employees Compensation Act (ECA) 2010, in collaboration with the Lagos State branch of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), yesterday said that over 45 employers have so far registered with the scheme.
Agaka who was represented by the General Manager of the Lagos office, Mrs. Olufunke Alesinloye, said the scheme had equally paid compensation to about 7000 employees, while 246 dependants of deceased workers are presently on monthly payroll of the Funds.
“Presently we have over 6.5 million employees covered and the essence of this workshop is to let the workers know that the scheme is the best thing to have happened to our system. Unlike the former Workmen Compensation, mode of payment is not rigid, provided it could be established that there is an accident and it is reported within the regulated period we will pay”, she said.
Alesinloye, said the scheme covered injury, death, occupational diseases, mental stress, hearing impairment, vocational rehabilitation and counselling, so far as it has to do with the work environment.
She noted that the distinction between the old scheme and the new is wide, and could never be compared as workers under the old scheme hardly get compensated.
She said, “The new scheme is a ray of hope, it is an assurance to workers that injuries is not in anyway the end of life, as workers would get compensated and rehabilitated to continue living. In the case of death, the dependants would not suffer, the benefit they get would be up to 90 percent of the last earning of the breadwinner.
“It is a global scheme, Convention 102 is the best thing that has happened to Nigeria. As workers, it your human right to get compensated when injured in the line of duty.”
The General Manager however enjoined the workers to ensure that cases of accidents are reported on time, and this she said could be initiated either by the employers or the employees, within 21 days, failure which compensation would be difficult to assess.
The chairman of the NLC in Lagos, Tokunbo Korodo said the workshop was organised to get more commitment from the NSITF on its responsibility towards Nigerian workers, more so as there has been complaints on the scheme.
He said, “As beautiful as this Act seems, the Council under my leadership has been overwhelmed with numerous complaints revolving round the issues of workers sustaining severe occupational injuries at workplace with no idea of where to go and seek redress or compensation as stipulated by law. Often time, injured workers are allowed to wallow in pain of abandonment by employers who in the first place fails to provide adequate health and safety equipment in factories and workplaces.”