12 February 2019

Nigeria: Again, NLC Demands Inauguration of NSITF, Other Federal Boards

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has again called on ministers to inaugurate the boards of federal parastatals already constituted by the federal government.

NLC Chairman, Ayuba Wabba, reiterated the call at the 12th National Delegates Conference of the Congress held in Abuja recently.

He said the Congress will rigorously pursue its stand on the inauguration of the boards.

Mr Wabba was more particular about the board of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) which was constituted by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo in October 2017 in his capacity as Acting President.

Since 2017, Chris Ngige, the minister of Labour and Employment, has refused to inaugurate the 11-member board thus rendering the agency powerless.

The membership of the board includes a former General Secretary of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers (NUPENG), Frank Kokori as Chairman; Deputy President of the NLC, Peter Adeyemi; Treasurer of Congress, Khaleel Ibrahim; Larry Etta and Timothy Olawale as representatives of Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA).

Others are representative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the managing director and three executive directors of NSITF and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Ibikun Odusote, who represents the ministry on the board.

However, when contacted in January, Mr Ngige said the failure of labour representatives to show up for screening was delaying the inauguration, a statement Mr Wabba described as falsehood.

At the congress, Mr Wabba described the continued delay as a violation of the law.

"The non-constitution of these institutions is not only a violation of the Act establishing the body but a denial of critical roles of partners in the management of those boards," he said

"No reason on earth is good enough for this unhealthy development and therefore, out of this conference, we will take a concrete resolution on what to do," he said

Mr Wabba mentioned the agencies to include the National Social Insurance Trust Fund, Michael Imodu Labour Institute, Board of Pencom and the Nigeria Labour Advisory and National Labour Advisory Council.

He said the minister when contacted on January 7 gave the excuse of non-availability of labour representatives for screening.

"The information is not true, because if the representatives were communicated, they will be available for screening," he said, reinforcing his earlier stand.

Mr Wabba speaking on behalf of the union demanded immediate inauguration of the board.

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