The leadership of the House of Representatives has threatened to refer employers of labour who default in remitting the statutory contribution into the Employee Compensation Scheme to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The House also threatened to prosecute all employers who forged documents, including receipts and certificates issued by the fund.
Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila issued the threat while declaring open the investigative hearing into the non-remittance of contributions into the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) by federal, state and local government parastatals, public corporations and companies from 2010 to date.
Gbajabiamila, who frowned at the poor representation of chief executive officers of various organisations, warned that; “It follows therefore that failure to comply with the requirement of law in this matter is an act of sabotage against the interests of the Nigerian worker and that is unacceptable.
“When, as is evidently the case, government institutions themselves also fail to meet their obligations in this regard, it evidences a glaring repudiation of the government’s constitutional obligation to serve the security and welfare of the people.”
The speaker noted that; “The mandate of this committee is therefore simply to identify what factors may be mitigating against full compliance with the requirements of the law in this instance, and to make recommendations thereto on what we in the House of Representatives can do to achieve full compliance, and properly penalise those who refuse to do what is required of them, whether they’re government institutions or private enterprises. If it requires that we amend the law, we will do so.
Represented by House Leader, Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa, the speaker said: “If it requires that we work with the National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) to improve on the internal regulatory framework, we will do that too. One thing is for certain, we will make sure that the rights of the Nigerian worker are respected and their interests, protected.
“I enjoin the committee to be meticulous and diligent in this assignment, and to deliver a report to the House of Representatives within the shortest possible time so that we can begin to act in whatever capacity is required of us,” Gbajabiamila stated.
In his welcome address, Chairman of the ad-hoc committee, Hon. Sada Soli (APC, Katsina), expressed dismay at the lackadaisical attitude of employers at both public and private sectors toward the well-being of their employees.
He restated the resolve of the House towards ending the menace; Hon. Soli explained that the ad-hoc committee would ensure that all defaulters comply with the Employee Compensation Act without further delay.
He specifically tasked all multinational companies, including Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), to pay all outstanding dues to NSITF in line with the provisions of the Employee Compensation Scheme, otherwise face prosecution.
“The fact that the government and all its agencies are guilty of this laxity is capable of giving the impression that we do not prioritise the social security and welfare scheme that provides comprehensive compensation to workers who suffer from occupational diseases or sustain injuries arising from accidents at the workplace or in the course of employment.”