By Michael Oche, Abuja
The management of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) has refuted reports making the rounds on social media on plans to arbitrarily slash salaries and demote some members of staff.
In a statement issued over the weekend, the new NSITF management described the reports as misinformation deliberately churned out to incite and mislead members of staff, the Association of Senior Staff of Banks and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI), and the general public.
It pointed out that the falsehood emanated from a congress of the NSITF staff Union that was recently conducted, though without due process, but which went ahead to deliberate on the observations made by the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC) in the identified existing system of grading/progression in the Fund.
The new management explained that the issue remains a policy matter for the Management and Board of NSITF, the Supervising Ministry, and NSIWC and that it was being addressed appropriately.
It, therefore, pointed out that circulating any such inciting and false information is tantamount to sabotaging the work of repositioning the Fund for greater achievements and urged the public to disregard such.
The statement reads: “Management refers to the recent write-ups and publications in the Social media spaces alluding to a protest in the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF wherein a concoction of lies and falsehood were fed to the unsuspecting and gullible readership, including staff of NSITF by the leadership of the ASSBIFI, NSITF Unit.
“Ideally, Management would have ignored these acts but as responsible leadership, Management deemed it very necessary to correct these false and incorrect allusions, which are viewed as acts of sabotage against the efforts of the new management at repositioning the Fund for greater achievements, These assertions are capable of and intended to incite staff against the Fund. Management, therefore, states that nothing can be further from the truth.
How could management, that within a short period in the saddle of the affairs of the Fund, when, without prompting by the ASSBIFI, NSITF Unit or any other body, ensured the payment of a long-overdue Furniture grant to staff, ensured the payment of education grant, ensured the regular payments of staff OPEs, ensured the consistent payment of Branches and Regions MSAs, consistently and timely paid staff salaries and allowances, and are attending to many other staff-related matter be said to be insensitive to staff welfare by contemplating staff demotion?
“The incident under reference is the Union congress, which lacked due process, where members discussed the observations of an error in the existing SYSTEM of grading/progression in the Fund, made by the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC). Management avers that the correction of the error in the existing SYSTEM of grading/progression is, in its entirety, a POLICY MATTER for the Management, Board, Supervising Ministry, and National Salaries, Incomes, and Wages Commission and is being currently addressed.
Management also states that the action of the leadership of ASSBIFI NSITF Unit of publishing an official matter in whatever form without authorization, leaves much to be desired.
“It is indeed very worrisome to note from this deliberate misinformation of the public that the correction of the observed error would lead to distortions in the promotion and cut in salaries (which the salary reduction must be a necessary component that defines demotion).
“Management wishes to clearly state that the information being churned out in the social media, intended to incite staff and misinform the public is inaccurate, misleading, and mischievous, and should be disregarded completely.
“Management assures all stakeholders that it will continue to uphold its mandate as empowered by the NSITF Act 1993 and Employees Compensation Act 2010 in its day to day activities while ensuring sustainable industrial peace and harmony within our beloved Fund.
“Management further reiterates its resolve in changing the narrative, which is now targeted at *Service provision- the services being the prevention and minimization of Accidents and Diseases in all workplaces, and where this cannot be completely prevented, the injured is rehabilitated and thereafter any deserving injured employee is compensated. These services will be rendered to ensure improved morale and productivity of employees in all workplaces and consequently increased revenue and more profits for Employers”. When the employers make more profits and have improved cash flow, they, in turn, will improve the welfare of their staff and expand their capacities thus creating more jobs to absorb more jobless youths.
That is the renewed direction.
“Meanwhile, all staff who fall within the field of selection for the annual promotion exercise have been advised to continue with their preparation for the exercise.”