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FEC approves digitisation of NSITF to curb leakages, promote accountability

FEC approves digitisation of NSITF to curb leakages, promote accountability
June 22
17:02 2022

The federal executive council (FEC) has approved the digitization of the services of the National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), to be known as e-NSITF.

The council made the approval on Wednesday at a meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment, who spoke to journalists on the development, said the decision to digitize the NSITF was in line with the government’s policy on ease of doing business.

Ngige said the e-NSITF would promote accountability and prevent leakages of funds in the sector.

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“The ministry presented two memos to the council today. The first memo was presented on behalf of our parastatal, the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF). As you’re aware, a lot has happened in the NSITF in terms of revenue losses and plunder of funds that have been given to that organization,” he said.

“The NSITF implements the Employee Compensation Act ECA 2010 and by that Act, employers in both public and private sectors are supposed to pay one percent of the emoluments of their staff into a social fund in NSITF. And this one is to be used as a premium or insurance fund to cater for workers or staff members who have accidents, injuries, disabilities, and even deaths that occur in the course of their work.

“The pension Act makes reference to it that it must be done for workers in addition to group life. So, the monies that have gone in there have not been properly utilized, the payments have not been tracked.

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“So, today we brought to council a memo for an e-NSITF by which their operations will now be digitalised. Both the payments that are put in from any of their stations, they have 56 branches and 11 regional offices. So in the comfort of your office, you can pay and register on that platform and that money is now tracked into a central pool, from where claims are made and payments are also made for the insurance of those who are beneficiaries, you also track them.”

Ngige also said the new strategy will enhance the efficiency of NSITF.

He described the move as one of the things the government has done in the spirit of digitalisation of the economy and ease of doing business for everybody, noting that it will make for efficiency and help the organization to grow in leaps and bounds.

“Already, the organization is revitalised, following the present restructuring agreement for them. Today, NSITF can pay all their salaries, they can boast of even doing capital projects. And this digitization of funds operation is part of the capital project that they are doing and like I said earlier, the accountability that is there will make for non-leakages of funds.

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“We also know that previously, there have been complaints of claims not being paid but e-NSITF will track claims and allow people to know who and who benefits from those claims. So this is one of the memos presented today. A consultant is going to handle it and the council approved that the digitalization should be completed in eight weeks,” the minister explained.

Ngige said the council also approved an upgrade of a portal called Nigerian Labour Exchange (NILEX), to be able to withstand requests by both employers and employees within and outside the country.

According to him, the portal is so small that it cannot take stress of the number of people wanting to go into it.

He said digital platform is supposed to be used by employers on one hand and job seekers on the other.

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Ngige explained that employers will load the vacancies they have, the type of skill they want, the qualifications of people that can fit in there. Then the job seekers, graduates, and non-graduates will register, put in their qualification, and skill, and then the two groups are matched. The employer can speak with a job seeker, via that platform.

“Over the years we have not been able to expand it. But on a bilateral, multilateral agreement now the funds have been provided. So, we are redesigning it, remodeling it, and then upgrading the infrastructure.

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“Council approved that consultant should also handle that with a completion period of 12 weeks. With that, we have passed the first stage of digitalising that particular platform. And one of the good things about that platform now is that when it becomes operational, all those phony platforms that ask people to register for work, pay in N1000 or N20,000, will become a thing of the past because this will be a government platform. And when you go there, you know is a genuine platform.

“Apart that, people in diaspora can also upload their expertise and tell Nigerians, what they have that qualify them for special jobs and if they are employers in Nigeria that need them, again they’ll be handshake through that same portal.”

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