Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund(NSITF) has urged the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission to make the Employee Compensation Scheme(ECS) compliance certificate, mandatory for employers of labour in the oil and gas sector.
The NSITF made the appeal through its Warri Branch Manager, Joseph Erhire at the ongoing first edition of the monthly online Management Performance Review(MPR) for the Fund’s heads of departments, regional and branches managers.
Outlining the strategies for bringing the huge benefits of the Employee Compensation to the doorstep of every Nigerian worker, Erhire regretted that many employers in the oil and gas sector were yet to have their workers captured under the scheme.
“Many workers in this sector are yet to be availed the benefits of the Employee Compensation not because they do not want to be captured under the scheme but because their employers are recalcitrant. The sensitive nature of the industry and the associated risk make a compelling case for the ECS.
“We therefore seek the intervention of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission to ensure that thousands of workers in the sector are enrolled into the Employee Compensation against work-related accidents or even death in the course of work”he said.
Earlier in her address to the session, the Managing Director of the NSITF, Maureen Allagoa said the new pattern of the management performance review was meant to provide an unrestricted forum to review the performances of regions and branches and enable staff members to freely make contributions for the improvement of the agency.
“management has received the list of thirty-one identified issues from the last month’s regional management performance review on the way forward for the Fund and it is currently receiving attention.
“I have taken time to also review the submitted performance reports of all the branches and regions for the just ended month of October 2023. In line with our new reward system which my management is committed to, we intend to recognize the outstanding performances of Abeokuta, Port Harcourt, Uyo, Ota , Lagos Mainland and Ikeja branches.
“For the other branches, consider this a wakeup call as well as a challenge to do better. I have no doubt that you all are capable of doing better than you have done so far. I can also assure you that on our part, management will do all within its capacity to support the branches to improve their performances in subsequent months.”She stated.
The Executive Director, Operations Modu Gana who supervised the session called for re-evaluation of strategies through incisive peer review among the management team at all the branches to enable the weak links pick up productive approaches that proved successful in other branches. He emphasized the import of free occupational safety and health programmes targeted at accident prevention at work places, urging all branches to scale up the exercise as a cardinal service of the NSITF.
“It is important that all branches scale up occupational safety programmes which we provide free to all employers of labour in the public and private sector to help secure work environment and provide safety to the Nigerian workers which is core to our mandate. This free accident prevention programme, central to our mandate is also key to the heart of employers at a time some Nigerians are skeptical about government institutions.
“Therefore, the NSITF must be seen as having a tangible offer to employers and their employees beyond compensating work-related accidents. Occupational safety audit is a tool to promote the health and safety of workers and through that, stimulate productivity for their employers. Every branch hence, must conduct a minimum of twelve occupational trainings and inspections every month,” Modu said.
Similarly, the General Manager, Compliance, Kabir Ma’aji who anchored the crisscross of contributions from the twelve regions and fifty-six branches of the NSITF, called on various state governments to key into the scheme to avail Nigerian workers in the state and local governments the abundant gains of the employee compensation scheme. He cautioned the staff of the fund to avoid portraying the NSITF as a revenue collecting agency, insisting that every conduct must align with the ethos of a social security, where free occupational safety services must be frontloaded before employers’ compliance with the ECS contributions. He further said all branch managers must take full responsibility for every assignment delegated to subordinate officers, insisting that excuses for failure would no longer be tolerated.
Among other heads of departments at the online management performance review was the General Manager, Social Security and the co-anchor of the session, Tony Eke who commended the Managing Director for the bringing onboard, the monthly online MPR, describing it as an innovation associated with dynamic leadership. He charged all branches with lapses to buckle up before the next session of the management review. “ This new management’s vision of a three-tier MPR consisting of a monthly online MPR, quarterly regional session and an all-encompassing biannual MPR is an innovation that deserves commendation,” he concluded.