The House of Representatives (“HoR”), has issued a Public Notice (“the Notice”), inviting 1,124 organisations across the public and private sectors to an investigative hearing, to ascertain their level of compliance with the provisions of the Employees’ Compensation Act (ECA), 2010 vis-à-vis remittance to the Employees’ Compensation Fund (“ECF” or “the Fund”) from inception of the ECA to date. The ECF was established to provide compensation for employees or their dependants in the event of death, injury or disability arising from employment.
The Notice, which was signed by the Chairman of HoR’s Ad-Hoc Committee on the ‘Investigation of the Non-Remittance of Contributions into the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF)’, has been issued in exercise of HoR’s power of oversight conferred by the provisions of section 88 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Notice mandates the affected organisations to appear for hearing, scheduled to hold from Monday, 7 October 2019 to Friday, 11 October 2019, to confirm registration with the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund Management Board (NSITFMB) and ascertain monthly contribution to the Fund as stipulated in the Act. The organisations are also required to submit to the Ad-Hoc Committee Secretariat within the National Assembly Complex in Abuja, a soft copy and 20 hard copies of evidence of registration and contribution to the Fund, not later than Friday, 4 October 2019.
Section 33 of ECA requires all employers to contribute 1% of total monthly payroll or amount assessed by the NSITFMB to the Fund, not later than the last day of each month. Employers are also required to file with the NSITFMB statements of actual earnings of their employees for the preceding year and projected earnings for the current year, not later than 28 February of every year.
Whilst it falls within the purview of HoR to investigate any matter in respect of which it enacts laws, the current exercise may likely not yield the expected result considering the relatively short notice given the affected organisations to collate necessary records for submission. Additionally, the question of whether or not the Ad-Hoc Committee intends to conduct a thorough investigation of 1,124 organisations within a space of 5 days, remains unanswered. Notwithstanding the current exercise by HoR, all employers are advised to review their positions to ensure there is no gap in their compliance, as there are possible sanctions for non-compliance. These may include imposition of fines and/or imprisonment of key officers of defaulting organisations upon conviction.