By G9ija

The Federal Government has ordered the verification of the academic and National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificates of staff of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).

Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, gave the order to the reconstituted board of the Fund, shortly after their inauguration, Wednesday, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Ngige also charged the new board to ensure the full implementation of the NSITF Restructuring Report and conclusion of Electronic NSITF (E-NSITF) Phases I and II, to enable maximum collection of contributions from public and private sectors, as well as move into the informal sector of the economy.

The Minister called for the intensification of operational drive in the public sector, which is within the dimension of the formal economy, to ensure that national and sub-national governments (states) move towards universal coverage to all the workers in Nigeria.

He mandated the new board to do their possible best to build a new NSITF, noted for accountability, transparency and other principles characteristic of good governance.

Ngige expressed optimism that with the new board, the era of the media feasting on NSITF activities was over.

Ngige said, “Within the next eight weeks, you have to screen NYSC and academic certificates of all staff of the Fund. I have cause to say so. When I see letters written by staff, including people in management positions, I start wondering if they obtained General Certificate of Education (GCE).

“You should screen out impostors with fake educational and NYSC certificates.”

On the restructuring of NSITF, he recalled that the President approved the implementation of the Restructuring Report, which the previous board could not conclude.

He directed the new board to ensure the full implementation of the report.

Stressing the importance of the E-NSITF, he noted that the platform would enable employers to make payments from the comfort of their offices while NSITF monitors from its own offices, hence, promoting transparency and accountability in the Fund.

He urged the new board to ensure that employers in the public and private sectors key into the provisions of Employees’ Compensation Act (ECA) 2010.

Similarly, he appealed to employers of labour in the nation to eschew subjectivity and key into the ECA 2010 and all its benefits to the workplace occupational safety and health.

Ngige explained that the Act is a national law which drew from the provisions of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No. 102, and replaced the old Workmen Compensation Act.

He urged employers to consistently make their statutory contributions to the fund for the security of their workers and aid nationally in the promotion of the decent work agenda.

The Minister said apart from the implementation and enforcement of the ECA, the job of the Fund would be expanded in the future to include other critical and thematic areas of the ILO Convention No. 102, which the government of Nigeria, in tripartite consultation with social partners, intends to ratify in parts owing to its expansiveness.

Responding, the new Chairman of the Board, Mr. Emmanuel Nwosu, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for giving them the opportunity to contribute to the growth of the country.

Nwosu said he recognised the essence of NSITF to cater for various aspects of social security, including protection of the world of work.

Similarly, the new Managing Director, Mrs. Maureen Allagoa, said she realises the burden placed on her, being the first woman appointed to administer the affairs of the Fund.