The House of Representatives has resolved to set up an ad hoc committee to investigate non-remittance of contributions to the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) by governments, parastatals, public corporations and companies from 2010 till date.
The resolution followed a motion by Rep. Zakaria Nyampa (PDP-Adamawa) and eight other lawmakers at the plenary on Thursday.
Leading the debate Nyampa said that the refusal of governments at all levels to pay the statutory contributions to NSITF is a violation of the law.
The lawmaker said that failure to remit contributions also exposed the Nigerian workforce to “uninsured and uncovered” risks and occupational hazards.
He further recalled that the Employees Compensation Act, 2010 provides guaranteed and adequate compensation for all employees or their dependents for death, injury, disease or disability in the course of employment.
It also provides rehabilitation for employees with work related disabilities, establishment and maintenance of a Solvent Compensation Fund managed for the interest of the employees or employers, among others.
Furthermore, the lawmaker noted that Section 33 of the Act states that every employer, within the first two years of the commencement of the Act, would have begun making a minimum monthly contribution of one per cent of the total monthly payroll into the fund.
The Act also states that subsequently, payment would be passed on estimates of the employer’s payroll for the year, actual assessment or based on minimum assessment.
He further said that the private sector players had, to a limited extent, been complying with the provisions of the Act, particularly, in view of Section 16(6)(d) of the Public Procurement Act, 2007.
The Act makes it mandatory for bidders to have fulfilled all obligations to pay taxes, pensions and social security contributions.
He, however, said that federal, states, local governments, parastatals, public corporations and companies had all failed to make payments of their contributions to NSITF in spite of the mandatory provisions of the Act.
He said the house was aware that only members of the Armed Forces, excluding civilian employees of the Armed Forces, were exempted from mandatory employer’s contributions under the Act.
The house, nonetheless, observed that if the issue is not addressed, civil and public servants would continue to be short-changed and remaain without any form of insurance or compensation.
The ad hoc committee was given within six weeks to report back its findings to the house for further legislative action. (NAN)