NECA faults implementation of social security initiatives
• Celebrates 60th anniversary today
The Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) has blamed the exclusion of most Nigerians from social security initiatives on lack of policy direction.
Its Director General, Olusegun Oshinowo, who stated this while speaking to The Guardian on the sideline of the just-concluded International Labour Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, explained that government has not benefitted from social security technocratic backup because the relevant ministry is left out of the implementation process.
“I think government got two things wrong. The first is that government ought to have situated such task in the ministry that should know what social security is all about, which will then provide the technocratic backup to government. That is not what we have now,” he said.
While acknowledging the existence of pensions and workers compensation scheme and health component of social security in the country, Oshinowo argued that majority of Nigerians were still left out of the safety net.
His words: “While we do have some measures of social protection that are fragmented amongst various institutions, the fact is that we still have some measures of social protection whether in form of pension, workmen compensation or health that have funding mechanisms situated in various agencies.
“To that extent, we can say we have a good framework but it is not complete as a social protection delivery framework. There are gaps in coverage of products and number. This is because the bulk of our workforce is in the informal economy. So, the current framework, which has some measure of coverage left out majority of Nigerians.
“This means that about 95 per cent of the workforce cannot enjoy any form of cover. We are, therefore, almost close to ground zero and there is the urgent need for government to address its mind to this gap.”
He said the N500 billion earmarked for social intervention fund by the Federal Government was like scratching the issue on the surface.
“Nigeria is battling with frictional unemployment where so many people who, after leaving a job, have no form of social protection until they are able to re-entre the labour market. That is why I am always very amazed when government talks about social security,” he added.
Oshinowo observed that the celebrating NECA’s 60th anniversary was also acknowledging its contribution to nation building even before Nigeria became independent.
“We have been running the race with Nigerian as nation and probably we can say we started the race three years before the Nigerian nation. We can connect easily with the evolution of Nigeria as a nation because we played key roles in that evolution,” he said.