- Commissions NSITF Regional Office, Owerri
THE Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has called on governments at all levels, especially state and local governments, to enlist their workers under the NSITF Employees Compensation Scheme. He made the call while commissioning the regional headquarters of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
The minister used the occasion to also stress the importance of social insurance program, and the urgent need for states and local government workers to key into it.
He stated that the Ministry of Labour and Employment, as the supervisory agency of government, decided to create an additional office of NSITF, which will serve as the regional headquarters of NSITF for the South-East zone to ensure equity and balance with other regions.
He added that Owerri regional office will ensure coverage of NSITF activities within the coverage area, thereby highlighting on the importance of the social insurance programme to the employees in the region.
Ngige also noted that the Owerri office will oversee the social security activities of Owerri, Umuahia, Aba and Abakaliki branches while the Enugu regional office will continue to oversee Nnewi, Onitsha, Awka, and Enugu branches in the South-East region.
He stressed the need for government at all levels – federal, state and local governments to ensure that their employees are enlisted into the Employees Compensation Scheme (ECS) of the Employees Compensation Act (ECA) 2010, being implemented by the NSITF.
He called on the Imo State governor and his counterparts in the region to ensure that workers from their states participate in the scheme to enable them to benefit from the scheme which he said revolves around prevention of accidents and diseases, rehabilitation and compensation for injuries arising from or in the course of work.
The minister emphasised that his ministry is working with the organised private sector to ensure continue access to ECS, and appealed to the Imo State governor, Hope Uzodinma, to assist the agency with a land to enable them to construct its own building.
In his response, Governor Uzodinma, who was represented by the Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Hon. Emeka Nduka, commended the minister for finding Owerri a befitting location for the regional operational office.
He assured the minister of Governor Uzodinma’s interest in the activities of the NSITF, and noted that the governor is committed to ensuring that Imo State workers benefit from the ECS.
The speaker added that Governor Uzodinma remains a labour-friendly administrator, and will do everything possible to ensure the welfare of all Imo workers, while pledging to convey the minister’s request to the governor. He, however, assured him of the governor’s disposition to his request.
The Managing Director of NSITF, Mrs Maureen Allagao, in her remark, applauded the minister’s approval of Owerri as the location for the region which she said is the 12th regional and 57th branch office of NSITF.
“This is one step closer to ensuring that every Nigerian employer and employee can and will be covered by the ECS to safeguard them against all forms of work-related injuries, accidents and occupational diseases as well as providing compensation and rehabilitation where necessary,” Mrs Allagao said.
In his address, the Regional Manager, Dr Kelly Nwagha, commended the activities of the minister and acknowledged the efforts put to ensure the realisation of establishing the regional office, just as he appreciated efforts of staff in the actualisation of the new regional office.