By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives asked it’s Committee on Labour, Employment and Productivity to investigate the activities of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, especially concerning the expenditure of N2.3 billion by the Management of the Fund and report back in four (4) weeks for further legislative action.
The House resolution was as the result of a adoption of a motion on the “Need to Investigate the Activities of the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) sponsored by Francis Waive (APC, Delta).
Presenting the motion, Waive said the House noted the report in the Vanguard Newspaper of 24 November 2019 alleging a fraud of N2.3 billion against the Management of the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) which was carried out without the authorization of the Board of the Fund or approval of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment as the transaction exceeded the spending threshold of the Management.
According to him, the House also noted that the report indicated that the Management allegedly awarded multi-million naira contracts for the construction of office complexes of the Fund in twelve States of the Federation, in addition to approving millions of naira as duty tour allowances for trips, in contravention of a recent directive from the Presidency banning such trips in order to reduce wastage.
Waive said, the House further noted that at the end of August 2019, the sum of N2,294,161,925 had, allegedly been spent on staff trainings which were mostly not approved by the Board or the Ministry of Labour and Employment, while many of the staff of the Fund claimed that they never attended any training, with a lot of infractions in the process.
The lawmaker argued that the House was: “concerned about the claim by the Management that it had spent billions of naira in settling outstanding debts to contractors but details of such debts were not provided for the Board or the Ministry, thereby raising suspicions about the genuiness of the claimed indebtedness and payments.
“Recalls that the Fund had been embroiled in similar scams in the past, including the alleged diversion of N62 billion by the immediate past Chairman of the Board, who is currently undergoing trial.
“Believes that there is an urgent need to investigate the allegations in order to reposition the Fund to deliver on its mandate and also help in stamping out corrupt practices in Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government”.
The House also mandated the Committees on Healthcare Services and Health Institutions to investigate the problem of brain drain in the health sector and make recommendations on measures to curtail the trend.
The Committees are further mandated to rorganize a public hearing in collaboration with health care administrators and practitioners with a view to finding a permanent solution to medical brain drain in Nigeria.
The House decisions followed the passage of a motion on:’Need to Address the Problem of Brain Drain in the Health Sector’, moved by Emmanuel Ukpong-Udo (PDP, Akwa Ibom).
He argued that the House noted there has been massive brain drain in the health sector in recent years as many medical doctors and other health professionals have been leaving Nigeria for other countries in search of better living conditions.
Ukpong-Udo said, the House also noted that the migration of health professionals has adverse effects on the healthcare system of the nation as it costs it much more than the benefits it derives from remittances by those diaspora professionals.