THE EDITOR, Sir:
IT IS pathetic to read that the minister of labour is practically begging employers to pay over to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), statutory deductions taken from employees pay. Even worse, they are asking the trade unions to help prod them to pay up!
It appears that the minister doesn't know which is the responsible agency mandated to effect enforcement of this legal obligation of the employers, else he would have referred to them.
No government, to the detriment of the employee and the performance of the NIS fund, ought to, by its forbearance, allow employers to rinse money deducted from employees intended towards their retirement fund. Clearly, this has been the case for many years! This is cruel and must stop!
I would suggest as a start, among existing measures, the following to improve employer's remittances and employee's access to benefits:
1. Enact legislation immediately to hold company directors, CEOs, and finance managers personally responsible for the timely remittance to the NIS. A hefty personal fine for default would bring a great improvement in remittances.
2. The NIS must be modernised so as to provide current online statements for its contributors. This feature would provide the means to allow the employees to track their contributions and become aware if the employers are not paying up their deductions. It is grossly unacceptable that workers who never had any contact with the NIS to learn at retirement that their account has problems resulting from non-payments of employers for possibly decades. Also, periodic biannual statements should be mailed to each contributor.
3. The yearly statement of earnings and statutory deductions issued by the employers must be accepted proof that the employee has paid to the NIS fund. It is not the duty of the employee to pay to the fund; their duty is to work the money. That is the legal duty of the employer who has access to deduct from the employee's pay as required by law. It is morally repugnant that the employees suffer when they had no control over these deductions over their working life.
It does not require a genius to deduce that prompt payments by employers to the fund makes the fund more able to earn and provide increased benefits at retirement.