Do You Know the services of The NSITF to You?
The National Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF, was an offshoot of the National Provident fund (NPF) enacted in 1961 to target poverty alleviation, especially for the private sector workers in the multinational companies in the country.
These poverty alleviation arrangement plans included the effects of cessation of employment, invalidity, or death. Over time, changes in the structure of the economy, growth and development, observed deficiencies, and changing needs resulted in the initiation of other Acts to bridge these gaps. NSITF Act of 1993 came into being and was mandated to handle retirement pensions, survivors’ benefits, retirement grants, death grants, and invalidity grants.
Further down the line came the Employees Compensation Act of 2010. This was primarily to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of NSITF and firming up its funding sources. By the Act, NSITF would be funded by one percent of the payroll of all employers registered on its platform, making this mandatory for all employers with staff above five. NSITF was thus expected to rehabilitate employees with disabilities – this would be more so than with more industrial accidents in many factories when jobs were more manual than computerized. Today, health, safety, and hazard consciousness have increased and are enforced by law in organizations. Many more functions are handled by robots, too.
Thus, with seeming fewer hazards at workplaces, except for road accidents, which may be conditional, if not in the course of employment, the NSITF may have to review ways to be more creative in its services for social welfare impact on the public. Today effectiveness is assessed by impact measurement. The many social services functions it inherited seem to have been allocated by law to other bodies – Health to NHIS, Death benefits to PenCom, even temporary cessation of work to PenCom, through its lump sum of 25% after mandatory months of joblessness. The gap here is that, should unemployment happen twice or more, the staff may not be able to access future support from pension funds, by the present law. This was to protect the fund from depletion, defeating its original purpose.
The above function of rehabilitation of employee disability was previously managed majorly by the Insurance sector before the Act empowering NSITF to take over that function. There presently, seem to be a vacuum in the connection between the NSITF with the public. It thus looks like the public’s silence or ignorance of NSITF activities may mean that they may know little about it and its activities, as may compare with the NHIS for health matters, PenCom for Pension matters, and Naicom and Insurance companies for Group life death payments.
NSITF may thus need to increase its public sensitization on its services and evolve more creative value-adding social services. It should be able to evolve the quality of services in response to the dynamism of the business and commercial activities environment like PenCom and NaiCom are doing at fair intervals. These are related services institutions, hence the comparisons.
It thus looks like NHIS and NSITF could work closer, creating better synergy for greater benefits for Nigerians for cheaper health delivery for the populace, or at least the working population whose employers contribute to the NSITF. The seeming mono-product of the NSITF may thus be improved on. The government can and should give this deeper thought, instead of the proliferation of parastatals, which comes with their costs of establishment and maintenance.
The smarter approach may thus even be allowing the government to play more of the Umpire roles and allowing the private sector to play more for efficiency, competition, and effectiveness. The CBN’s role as an umpire is indisputable, and managing for sanity and results in the banking sector. So, are other Regulators.