The Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) says it will soon begin the process of mandating defaulting employers to immediately register with the fund.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive of the fund, Adebayo Somefun, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
He said that although government had made NSITF registration mandatory for companies executing government contracts, many were still defaulting.
Somefun added that the NSITF had employed dialogue for too long and would soon begin to sue recalcitrant employers.
He expressed regrets that the penalty stipulated in the NSITF Act for defaulting employers of labour was small and was not serving as a deterrent.
The NSITF, he said, would seek an amendment of its establishment Act and the Employees Compensation Act so that employers of labour could be more compelled to enrol.
“Dialogue is very important, we will try to persuade them and also use the apparatus of government and the law.
“ We must mandate them because it is mandatory.
“Where persuasion has failed I believe we can try to mandate them. There have been circulars written but we still have some recalcitrant employers.
“We will still try and persuade them and enforce where necessary, unfortunately the penalty is so small.
“So I believe that this Act also has to be amended to give stiffer penalties,” he said.
He said that he was currently in discussion with his management team on how best to pursue the amendment of the Act to ensure stiffer penalties.
On NSITF mandate, he said that part of his plans for the fund was to make Nigerians aware of the core functions of the fund.
He said that the statutory responsibility of the NSITF was to compensate employees who suffer from occupational diseases, sustain injury or disability from accidents in the work place or in the course of employment.
“NSITF provides compensation to the dependants of an employee who dies in the course of work. NSITF helps the employer to save for the rainy day,” he said.
According to him, ECA provides a no-fault scheme because it is a social fund which intends to ensure speedy compensation of employees.
Somefun also said that there were both cash and non-cash benefits.
He added that any injured employee could be trained or rehabilitated under the NSITF scheme in any vocation suitable for the current condition.
Somefun said that the fund had made it a point of duty to complete any request for compensation within two weeks, adding that he would work to bring the processing time down to days.
“Compensation has started, that is why you have not seen people carrying placards saying that they have not been paid,” he said.
“There is no request for compensation that has been brought to us here that has not been treated speedily.”