October 7, 2019
The House of Representatives (HOR) has commenced an investigation on the non-remittance of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) levy by companies, government parastatals and public corporations from 2010 to date. The Ad-hoc Committee of the HOR on the Investigation of the Non-Remittance of Contributions into the NSITF (the Committee), recently issued a Public Notice inviting different organizations and companies in the private and public sectors to an investigative hearing at the National Assembly Complex from 7th – 11th, October 2019.
The Employees Compensation Act, 2010 (“ECA” or the Act) provides for the employees compensation scheme to be administered by the NSITF. The ECA requires every employer to make a minimum monthly contribution of 1% of the employer’s total monthly payroll (NSITF levy) to the Employees’ Compensation Fund, which will be managed by the Insurance Trust Fund Management Board (the Board).
The HOR in a bid to address alleged non-compliance with the provisions of the ECA, commissioned the Committee to investigate the non-remittance of the NSITF levy. The Committee acting on the authority of the HOR issued the Public Notice, for an investigative hearing commencing from 7th to 11th, October 2019. Invited organizations are required to submit a soft copy and 20 hard copies of evidence of registration and remittance of the NSITF levy to the committee secretariat.
The decision of the HOR to investigate organizations for non-remittance of the NSITF levy shows the HOR’s determination to take decisive steps towards addressing the issue of non-compliance with the ECA. However, the decision raises a number of concerns, especially on the extent of the investigative powers of the HOR on matters within the duties and responsibilities of the Board.
It is unclear if by this decision, the HOR is assuming the statutory powers of the Board to administer and enforce the ECA and whether this investigation by the HOR precludes the NSITF from further conducting its own investigation on defaulting organisations. Notwithstanding, employers/organizations are advised to be proactive towards fulfilling their statutory obligations under the ECA, to avoid undue penalty exposures.In this regard, companies and employers in general, should endeavor to obtain professional support in complying with their regulatory obligations in general and the ECA in particular.