NLC seeks expansion of employees’ compensation scheme
NSITF plans decentralisation of payment to injured workers
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has bemoaned the implementation of the Employees Compensation Scheme (ECS) to the formal sector of the economy.President of Congress, Ayuba Wabba, who lamented the non-inclusion of the informal sector when he received the managing director of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Adebayo Somefun and his management team at the NLC headquarters in Abuja, explained that social security coverage, workmen compensation and occupational health and safety were critical to workers in Nigeria and that everyone should be covered.
His words: “The progress of implementation has not been at the scale labour expected. Up till now, not all employers have registered in the Employee Compensation Scheme (ECS) and many employees are still left of the coverage. NSITF has huge operational challenges.
“In most countries, every employer is mandated to join the scheme and as such, every employee is covered but in our case here, there are many employers in the small-scale and informal sectors that are still not part of the scheme and workers are still not taken care of when they sustain injury in the workplace.
“I think there is still a lot of work to be done to expand the coverage. We should be able to cover all active workers in the economy and all workers are supposed to have social protection because that is important.”
Wabba stressed the need to educate workers and employers on the importance of the scheme by extending the campaign to the workplace.“More importantly, we need to take the implementation of ECS to the workplace because no matter how good a policy is; it will be meaningless to the people if not well implemented. We have not been able to drive it to the workplace and driving it there is urgently required. The task before the new management is the expansion of the scheme to capture most workers in the country.
“Also, the quality of both the compensation and rehabilitation package of injured workers should be done to be more meaningful to those covered,” Wabba said.
Responding, the managing director of NSITF, Adebayo Somefun, lauded the NLC for spearheading the struggle to improve workers’ welfare, describing the labour as a worthy partner in the implementation of the ECS.
While the NSITF will continually improve payment of compensation to injured workers, Somefun hinted that the regions and branches of the organisation would be empowered to process payment of compensation to speed up the process.
“While we are very prompt in the payment of compensation to injured workers, we recognise the fact that we must continue to improve on what we are doing. One of the steps to make the payment of compensation faster is to allow the branches and regions, not only to process payment documents, but make actual payment,” he explained.Somefun said the previous NSITF administrations had laid a solid foundation upon which the present administration would build.