From Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) has paid out a total of N142,763, 022.81 as compensation for medical expenses, loss of productivity, disability and death benefits to 2,858 Nigeria workers between January and March this year.
This was disclosed in a statement from the agency which explained that the payments, cut across workers of various public and private sectors. It said that this is in line with the mandate of NSITF which obligates it to compensate employees who suffer workplace injuries, diseases of deaths.
According to NSITF, these compensations usually go out to workers whose employers adhere to the legal requirement to register with the NSITF and inform the Fund of any such challenges or calamities any of their employees encounter.
The monies and other assistance are provided for in the NSITF flagship scheme known as the Employees Compensation Scheme (ECS) started since 2011.
A breakdown of the beneficiaries showed that 19 workers in January and 21 workers in February 2021 benefitted from the Medical Expenses Refund (MER); while Loss of Productivity (LOP) benefits were paid out to 11 workers in January and 13 in February.
“One employee’s next of kin was paid Death Benefit in January; and 1,056 others were similarly paid in February 2021. For Disability Benefits to incapacitated employees, five workers were compensated in January while 1, 319 beneficiaries were paid in February.
“For the month of March,  the total compensation paid out was N21, 592, 444.85 for 413 claimants, including 32 persons for medical expenses; 18 death benefits; 18 for disability benefits; 12 for loss of productivity; and pension for 328 disabled employees.
“The NSITF promised not to relent in its efforts to provide succour to employees and their employers who do the right thing by complying with government’s regulations to make work and life easier for them,” the agency said.
Speaking on this, the Managing Director/Chief Executive of the NSITF, Dr. Kelly Nwagha, reminded workers and employers that while advocating prevention through health and safety regulations in workplaces remain a priority, the Fund will always come through for them when the inevitable happens.
He urged those who are yet to register with the NSITF to do so, as it no only makes them patriotic corporate citizens, but boosts the productivity of their workers with the assurance that help would cone their way when accidents cross their paths.
Dr. Nwagha recalled that the NSITF had paid over N4 billion in compensation to Nigerian workers for workplace injuries, diseases and deaths  through the ECS since 2011.
He explained that only one percent of the employees’ emoluments are required to be contributed by the employer every year for them to benefit from the scheme.
He also clarified that the workers are exempted from the contributions as only their employers are required to provide the money as premium to ensure their employees enjoy the no-questions-asked compensations.
Meanwhile, the NSITF stressed that its current management maintains a zero tolerance for corruption, and also encourages institutionalized staff discipline and orderliness leading to improved staff morale, productivity and loyalty.
He ensured that the staff promotion examination conducted in February 2021 was hitch-free and in line with Covid-19 protocols to ensure that deserving staff are properly motivated and placed through an open, free, fair and transparent assessment procedure.
Nwagha has further changed the publicity narrative around the Fund by ensuring a deliberate presence in print and social media platforms; as NSITF updates on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Telegram routine. Radio publicity and phone-in programmes to elucidate the mystery surrounding Employees’ Compensation Scheme have been intensified.
There have also been deliberate publications to dissuade the public on the antics of fraudsters who are hell-bent on using the image of the Fund to gyp some unsuspecting populace of their hard-earned money.
Another landmark achievement of Dr. Kelly Nwagha led-administration in the first quarter of 2021 is the clearing of outstanding allowances of staff. One of such being the payment of a backlog of furniture allowance, and dressing allowance for 2021 which would have been due at the tail end of the year. The new Management has also cleared the outstanding gratuities to the families of deceased staff.
Nwagha further ensured that the Abuja Regional and Branch offices were relocated to a more spacious, conducive and cheaper work environment.
The new Management has already submitted the 2021 Appropriation  proposal of the Fund to the National Assembly for early passage, which is crucial to execution of outstanding projects.