The Minister of Labor and Employment, Chris Ngige, has asked the management of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) to review the salary structure of the Fund’s staff.
Ngige, who said the directive was an ultimatum at the closing ceremony of a two-day management performance review of the NSITF over the weekend in Abuja, then gave the agency a three-day deadline. months to fully effect the adjustment.
“We discovered with great sadness that the NSITF did not readjust the salary of the staff but it is not the fault of this management but of the previous ones who did not think of the less well placed people. We found out and gave them an ultimatum to do it by the end of January 2022.
“Other incentives will follow and will be tied to performance. If you improve your contributions before the end of March, all your allowances will be reviewed. So all staff have to be seated. A new system is here to reward hard work. The era of clocking in at 8:30 a.m. to sleep and clocking in at 4:00 p.m. is over.
“The more goals you achieve in terms of returns, contribution generation, the greater the incentive. When you exceed your goal, there has to be a way to say thank you. You have to live the old NSITF and prepare for the new NSITF, where there will be special promotions for outstanding performance.There will also be a review of the terms of service.
In addition, Ngige instructed management to fully automate agency operations within three months, in line with global trends.
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His words: “Information on every aspect of this agency should be displayed at the touch of a button. It saves costs, saves time, promotes synergy, efficiency and transparency which is a bulwark against fraud. You must achieve this in three months. The ITF and FIRS are organizations you should be competing against, but they have left you behind.
In addition, he ordered that management performance review be made more frequent, especially for those in operations, using virtual platforms, to bridge the communication gap between branches, areas and the headquarters, in order to properly ventilate each issue and continue, all levels before decisions are made.
The minister reiterated that every contract must comply with the Public Procurement Law and must be done on the basis of NEED assessment, promising that the era of public procurement just for fun is over.
“When you visit certain branches, you find furniture, some new, thrown around. They were acquired for the purpose of buying them and not based on the needs of the branches. This must stop.
He again instructed the legal department to rise to the challenge and prosecute recalcitrant employers, ordering that the legal department be established in each branch. He said additional recruitments of lawyers and accountants had been made to firm up operations and so there should be no excuses.
“How many people have you brought to justice? We are changing the law to make the penalty severe. But you have to bring people to justice even if the fine is 10,000 naira. The law provides for 10,000 naira or six months imprisonment or both. A magistrate or judge may not give you just N10,000, they may give you both or even give you just six months. And once you’re given six months and you get out, you become an ex-con. If it is a business, it will be blacklisted. So no one should say the law is cowardly and hide under it so as not to execute.
Ngige further called for the strengthening of the Informal Sector Department of the agency as he described the informal economy as a whole opportunity waiting to be tapped for social security benefits for all.
The quarterly review, which was the first since new management took office last year, brought together all branch and regional managers as well as other senior and executive managers of the agency.
The Fund’s Managing Director, Dr Mike Akabogu, previously said the decision to invite branch managers to lead the presentation was part of the new strategic management system that prioritizes horizontal leadership.
He further stated that the agency was being reformed to raise the performance bar, hence the need for continued engagement at all levels of the workforce to engender the synergy needed to achieve target goals.
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NSITF staff get new pay structure as Ngige leads management on immediate implementation