July 24, 2018.
There are indications that the board of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) would be inaugurated before the end of July, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige disclosed.
In a letter to dated 17th July 2018 with a reference number: No. ML.HMO/LAB/126/III/208 and addressed to the National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, Ngige explained that contrary to insinuations, non-inauguration of the board was not a deliberate act.
The Minister mentioned alleged involvement of some members of former board of NSITF in major issues of corruption involving about N48 billion which comprises Federal Government and employers’ contributions to the Employees’ Compensation Fund plus some non-remitted PAYE taxes as some of the reasons the board was not inaugurated alongside that of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) whom is the chairman, National Productivity Centre and Michael Imoudu Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS), Ilorin, on March 8, 2018.
He sated that he instituted an administrative and Financial Panel of Enquiry with a Presidential approval as a follow-up to the criminal investigations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and another investigation by the House of Representatives Committee on Labour and Employment probe in March 2018 which is still on-going.
In responding to the text of a letter written to Ngige by Oshiomhole dated July 11, 2018, with reference number: APC/NHDQ/GEN-S/28/018/003, Ngige was quick to remind Oshiomhole that dabbling into audit reports is not within the purview of a political party chairman.
Also, Ngige observed that he was unable to accede to Oshiomhole to ‘directive’ to inaugurate the board within one week as contained in a letter written by Oshiomhole on the 11th July 2018 with APC/NHDQ/GEN-S/28/018/003 as reference number.
Ngige added: “I am sorry that I will be unable to accede to your “directives” to inaugurate all the Boards within one (1) week as the Ministry had already inaugurated the aforementioned three (3) Boards but will in this case of the NSITF adhere to the “work plan” on the NSITF as approved by Mr. President who is the Head of the Government of the Federation.
Based on this, be assured that the Board of NSITF will be constituted very soon, at most, before the end of July 2018.”
However, he assured Oshiomhole that the board would be inaugurated in order to assist the implementation Committee that would be established by him to effect the various policy recommendations that are aimed at sanitizing the Agency and strengthening the very weak internal audit system of the Fund.
There are 11 members of the NSITF board.