*As Bankole hails legislators
By Luka Binniyat
ABUJA â€“Â Stakeholders have hailed a proposed law that would lead to the establishment of a Fund that will adequately compensate employees who sustained injuries, disabilities and even death in the course of duty.
The Fund would be pooled from 1% total pay package of employees, but paid by employers to the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF.
This was made known during a one-day public hearing organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Labour and Productivity on the proposed bill in Abuja.
The Bill known as Employees Compensation Bill, ECB, also seeks to repeal the 58-year-old Workmen Compensation Act.
Sections 57 and 58 of the bill mandate the NSITF as the public agency to manage the Employees Compensation Fund, ECF.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep Dimeji Bankole, said workers deserve to work under decent, humane conditions, and hail the proposed Fund as timely.
The Speaker who was represented by the Deputy Leader of the House, Rep Baba Agaie (PDP/Niger), said the House commended the initiative of the executive for introducing the bill and would ensure its speedy passage.
He urged stakeholders to make robust contributions to the proposed law so that the working conditions of millions of Nigerian workers would improve.
The Chairman of the Committee, Rep Ado Audu Dogo (PDP/Kaduna), on his part, said the Workmen Compensation Act 1942 was outdated and not in tune with modern reality.
He said the new Bill will enhance productivity of workers as a result of the motivation they would get from many provisions in the proposed law.
The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, who was represented by his Permanent Secretary, Mr. Chike Alex Anigbo, told the gathering that workers are the most valuable resources of any country.
He said the proposed law was carefully thought-out with the interest of workers at heart.
According to him, all employers would be mandated to pay 1% of the total pay package of their workers to the Fund.
He said: â€œYou do not have to prove that you sustain injuries, or acquires disabilities or killed doing your work before you are paid compensation under the ECF.Â The ECF is proof-free. The chances of mismanaging the Fund is rare because the Fund will be run under a tripartite arrangementâ€, he said.
The Nigerian Labour Congress, represented by its Vice-President, Comrade Isa Aremu, said ECF is a social Fund and not an insurance issue, and as such should be left under the management of NSITF.