The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, on Monday inaugurated the new board of the National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) after delaying for two years since their nomination by President Muhammadu Buhari and confirmation by the Senate.
Ngige inaugurating the board in Abuja in the early hours of Monday remarked that the two-year delay in the inauguration is as a result of massive looting in the organisation between 2012 and 2015.
The minister noted that between that period, the sum of N62.5 billion was contributed out of which N48 billion was unaccounted for and N25 billion was withdrawn without vouchers.
The new board is to be chaired by Austin Enejomo-Isire.
The past board members are currently being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Ngige, however, charged the new board to resist the temptation of fixing special allowances for themselves, urging them to execute their duties fairly and transparently.
He also advised them to focus on staff welfare, not personal enrichment.
The inauguration of the new board comes a day after the Presidency said Ngige, had the backing of President Muhammadu Buhari in all the actions he (Ngige) had taken concerning the NSITF.
The Presidency in a statement on Sunday by Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, indicated: “All actions taken by the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment toward the resuscitation and repositioning of this ailing agency (NSITF), including the Administrative Panel of Inquiry into the affairs of the NSITF and the suspension of the inauguration of the board in 2018 were part of the special work plan approved for the minister by Mr President.
“The appointment of the chairman of this board, which is in consonance with Section 4(a) of the NSITF Act CAP N88 of 2004, was also approved by Mr President since 23rd July, 2018, on the recommendation of the minister. Mr Austin Enejamo-Isire, a chartered accountant; Fellow, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and a renowned insurance expert; senior member, Chartered Institute of Insurance of Nigeria; Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria; and Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria was approved by the President for this position.”
The inauguration of the board was initially scheduled to hold on April 18, 2019 but was postponed by Ngige, a decision that generated controversies.