NSITF seeks abolition of ad hoc bodies to implement social protection initiatives



The Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) has blamed the slow penetration of social protection initiatives amongst Nigerians on the establishment of ad hoc bodies and proliferation of agencies with similar mandates.

Speaking in Abuja, the Acting Managing Director of the NSITF, Ismail Agaka, lauded the coordination roles plays by the Office of the Vice President on the disbursement of the N500billion social security funds by the Federal Government.

Under the new deal, Agaka explained that it is expected that each of the agencies would specialize on aspects that are relevant to their operations, adding that it is gratifying to note that government has realized that there is urgent need for an effective coordination of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) so that the benefits of the social protection services would accrue to the intended beneficiaries.

Agaka further explained that the office of the Vice President now provides the much-needed coordination of MDAs that are involved in the delivery of social protection services, which has provided stability for the implementation.

His words: “There is some forms of coordination right now unlike in the past when there was none at all. Once there is coordination, synergizing becomes very easy amongst agencies. It also help harmonized duplication of activities so that there can be value in service delivery.”

The NSITF boss called for the revision of the respective laws that set up social protection agencies within the strict core mandate of each agency.

25 Almost all the agencies in this sector have their enabling Acts and laws. But we have seen in the past how ad hoc agencies were created to do what existing agencies were enabled by law to do. So, if Nigeria can have less or none of such, we would record more evident-based results in no time. For instance, why should we create another ad hoc agency to implement job creation initiatives when there is National Directorate of Employment (NDE), which was created over 30 years ago to tackle unemployment?

Agaka said while the NSITF would be willing to play more prominent role in the implementation of government social security initiatives, the law establishing the NSITF does not make it possible to it to be involved in the implementation of the initiative at this stage.

“The NSITF Act restricts us to employees’ compensation only. We cannot claim to have expertise in all aspects of social protection. For instance, we do not have expertise in health insurance or employment, which is all about social security. We should be able to focus on our area of core competence so that the programme would not be a jack of all trade. We should know that there is no country where only a single agency operate and execute social security mandates,” he said.

He hinted that the NSITF would give value to the initiative through technical expertise, supply of specific date and provide international support of its global collaborators such as the International Social Security Association (ISSA).

The NSITF helmsman said before the Fund can go into the operation in the informal sector, it has to get the Act establishing it reviewed to accommodate the expansion.

He added: “That is under legislative process and once we get that legislative framework done with, the NSITF would be enabled to deliver other social protection services. The delivery of other services would not be solely done by the NSITF but in consonance and working with other social protection agencies that are nine in number.”

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