By JOHNBOSCO AGBAKWURU
THE National Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF, has said no fewer than 500,000 workers have keyed into the Employees Compensation Scheme, ECS. It has also paid over N200 million employees that were injured at workplaces since the commencement of ECS.
Managing Director of NSITF, Alhaji Munir Umar Abubakar who spoke during the inauguration of the Independent Investment Committee, said “The NSITF has paid over N200 million to injured workers from various sectors who sustained all kinds of work place injuries since the scheme began. We paid this sum out of about N500 million claims we received.
It was after vetting and going through the processes that we paid N200 million out of the sum. We have registered over 35,000 employers. The Federal Government has also been making its contributions and we have many states coming on board very soon. We have well over 500,000 employees covered under the scheme. We have been settling claims that we have received so far.”
According to him, “The work of the committee will serve as an assurance to the stakeholders that the funds collected and put in a pool would be invested rightly. We also have representatives from the CBN, Chambers of Commerce and Industry as well as the National Pension Commission (PenCom) which is the supervisory body of contributory pension scheme in Nigeria.
We believe that this committee is one of the most important committees we have in the Fund to help us drive the implementation of the scheme.”
On possible sectors for investment for e NSITF, Alhaji Munir Umar Abubakar said, “because we have set up this committee, it is their responsibility to carry out studies of the economy with a view to determining where it is most suitable for investment. Nevertheless I would say that during the defunct scheme, the NSITF was the leading agency on the Nigeria Stock Exchange and also invested heavily in real estate. We must recognize the fact that the economy vagaries are steadily changing in reflection of the current happenings.”
Inaugurating the committee, Chairman of the Board of Directors of NSITF, Dr. Ngozi Olejeme, said the committee’s work would not only assist the board in arriving at sound investment decisions, but would go a long way in assuring contributors to the scheme as well as other stakeholders that there was transparency in the way funds under its custody were invested.
Dr. Olejeme said, “Your assignment as an advisory body to the Board of Directors is extremely important in shaping the activities of NSITF. The assignment is a laudable innovation and practical recognition of good corporate governance practice which are not found in most other statutes. ECS is still new and so a lot needs to be done to ensure that the scheme stabilizes within a short period of time.”
The NSITF Board of Directors Chairman reminded the members of the committee of their functions which includes advising the Board on the investment of any money standing to the credit of the Fund under the Act establishing it and to carry out investment surveys in the economy and draw up a list of safe investments from time to time.