Chris Steven, Abuja
Plans are underway by the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) to establish rehabilitation centres for injured workers across the country.
Speaking on the initiative, Managing Director of NSITF, Munir Abubakar, said the proposed centres would be established in each geo-political zones of the country.
He disclosed that the Fund is already in talks with some state governments on the planned rehabilitation centers adding that the Fund wants to go beyond paying for treatment and compensation of injured workers.
His words: “We are in talks with some state governments to establish rehabilitation centres in each of the six geo-political zones of the country.
We want to take the issue of injured workers beyond just paying for treating and paying them compensation to rehabilitation.
Experience has shown us that some workers no longer have the ability to continue in their area of specialization after sustaining injury and that is why we are also going to add re-orientation and re-training of injured workers in profession they will be able to cope. Injured workers will no longer entertain fear of job loss as a result of workplace injury.”
Abubakar also said NSITF would also be collaborating with foreign manufactures of artificial limbs and legs to ensure easy training of workers who may need to use them.
“Presently, we are using local firms to provide artificial limbs and legs but very soon we will be working with some foreign manufacturers that will also conduct training for those who may need it and also ensure accurate measurement of the needed body parts,” he explained.
The NSITF boss also added that the Fund is also working on the locating treatment centres close to the premises of employers to ensure timely response to injured workers, saying, “lives could easily be if hospitals or treatment centre are far away from workplaces.”
The NSITF Chief disclosed that the annual discussion of social security issues at the ILC indicates the rising importance of social safety amongst nations of the world.
He added that the implementation of employees Compensation Scheme (ECS), though relatively new in Nigeria, has made tremendous progress in the last four years.
His words: “The implementation of the Employees Compensation Scheme is now stabilizing in the country and we have indeed gone very far in this journey.
There are countries that indicated interest in coming to Nigeria to come and see what we are doing. Some years back, only Tunisia, Zambia, South Africa and other few countries that have robust compensations schemes, but now if countries that have robust compensation schemes are mentioned, Nigeria will be among them. Our experience in the implementation of the scheme is new with only four years experience.
As we all that there are many arms of social security, what we are implementing in Nigeria is the workers compensation scheme, which is considered a very important arm because workers need to be safe at workplaces before they can be productive.”
He hinted that the scheme has over 28,000 employers that are registered under the scheme.