The House of Representatives Monday, accused the Federal, states, LGAs, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), it’s subsidiaries of withholding workers pension contributions. Chairman of the House Ad hoc committee on National Social Insurance Trudt Fund (NISTF), Hon Sada Soli, who disclosed this at an investigative hearing on non – remittance of contributions into the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) in Abuja, also said NNPC and it’s subsidiaries were the chief defaulters in the remittance of the contributions into NSITF.
“We are therefore, calling on all major oil companies particularly the NNPC and its subsidiaries, the greatest violators of this Act to expedite action to rectify this breach and pay their backlog of contribution before legal action is taken against them,. “This Ad-Hoc Committee and indeed the National Assembly calls on the Federal, States and Local Governments, their Agencies and Parastatals and Private companies to immediately pay all contributions due to the NSITF in order not to jeopardise the noble objectives of establishing the Fund,” he said. Soli said “the fact that government and all its Agencies are guilty of this laxity, was capable of giving the impression that we do not prioritize the social security and welfare scheme that provides comprehensive compensation to workers who suffer from occupational diseases or sustained injuries arising from accidents at work place or in the course of employment. We must begin to show more compassion towards the fate of our workers, especially in their weakest moments.” According to him, it was both a moral and legal responsibility for the government, and indeed all employers of labour, to ensure that those who spend the best part of their lives working to contribute to the growth of our societies were not allowed to suffer neglect arising from occupational diseases, injuries or death. In his remarks, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila blamed that though the National Social Insurance Trust Fund was created to provide adequate compensation for all employees or their dependents, in the event of death, injury, disease, or disability arising from, or in the course of their employment, it has to live up to expectation as government and the private sector no longer remit to NEITF the contributed funds. He said the mandate of the ad hoc committee was 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 the House of Representatives can do to achieve full compliance, and properly penalize 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. 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,” he assured.