From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja

The National Assembly (NASS) has called for an amendment to the Employees Compensation of Act 2010 in order to strengthen the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).

Mr. Sani Tambawal, Clerk of the National Assembly, said this when a delegation from the NSITF visited his office, yesterday.

Tambawal, represented by Mr Kamoru Ogunlana, Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly, said the amendment of the Act was imperative as it would align its process with the current realities.

According to him, the amendment is important in view of the dynamic responsibilities entrusted to the fund and pledged the support of the National Assembly bureaucracy towards it.

“This would ensure that workers who suffer workplace related injuries, disability and occupational diseases get prompt and proper attention in rehabilitation or compensation from the NSITF.

“I am suggesting an improvement in the administrative process and the need to strengthen the enabling act by amending relevant social sections in tandem with current realities.”

He said that this would also eliminate complaints arising from the inability of injured workers to access prompt relief but commended the fund for its contributions to the workers’ welfare.

Tambawal also lauded the Fund for identifying with the National Assembly as a worthy partner in delivery of the public service.

According to him, the National Assembly equally recognises the importance of NSITF in catering for employees’ social needs and securing them against harmful occurrences in and out of the workplace.

“I acknowledge that the NSITF is performing its critical role in providing compensation to insured employees and their dependants in case of workplace disease disabilities, injuries or death, in and out of the workplace.”

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The clerk also urged the fund to urgently tackle the case of delayed payment of compensations to a deserving staff of the National Assembly who suffered a workplace injury.

He further pledged to look into the outstanding remittances of the National Assembly employees to the NSITF.

Earlier, Mrs Maureen Allagoa, managing director of NSITF, said the visit was to seek partnership in opening a desk at the Health Services Directorate of the National Assembly.

Allagoa, who was represented by Mr Adegoke Adedeji, executive director of Finance and Investment, said this would further open up access to the Fund’s services as part of prioritising liaison with the assembly.

She, however, cleared the ambiguity over the Pension Fund and the role of the NSITF.

She said the Pension Reform Act of 2004 severed all pension responsibilities from the NSITF and handed all to PENCOM.

“For NSITF, we take care of work related injuries, and they must occur at work or in the cause of work.

“Also, one of the products of the NSITF is that we dispense pensions for disabled persons.

“So, when we are paying monthly disability benefits to those injured at work or in the course of work, we also add 10 percent.

“This is the employer’s contribution of their disability benefits into their Retirement Savings Account (RSA).

“So, we still have a leg in pension but not for those who retired from work but for those who are disabled at work. We still pay them some pension, among others,” she said.