***As national social security commission. Bill scales 2nd reading
Hope came alive on Wednesday for vulnerable Nigerians as a bill seeking to empower them with social security benefits passed Second Reading in the Senate.
Sponsored by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, the bill is seeking to establish the National Social Security Commission (NASSCOM) that would regulate, manage and administer social security benefits to eligible Nigerians.
Titled: ‘Nigerian Social Security Commission (Establishment, etc.) Bill, 2022 (SB 899)’, the proposed legislation will provide safety net for poor, weak and vulnerable Nigerians.
Senator Omo-Agege in his lead debate explained that out of the nine domains listed in the Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1952 (No. 102) of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) which Nigeria is a signatory to, only employment injury benefit is statutorily covered in the country.
He pointed out that when passed into law, Nigerians with several medical conditions, those incapacitated to work, unemployed citizens, senior citizens (70 years and above), families who have lost their breadwinners, widows incapable of self-support among others, will receive periodic social security benefits from the Commission.
He added that the National Social Security Commission (NASSCOM) bill aims to reduce poverty by providing a strong social safety net for vulnerable groups and serve as a model of governance reform anchored on the principles of transparency and accountability.
“Nigeria is a signatory to the Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1952 (No. 102) of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). This Convention articulates globally-agreed minimum social security standards in 9 domains. Except employment injury benefit that is already statutorily covered in Nigeria, eight of the domains are uncovered, and they are the focus of this Bill.
“Consistent with Convention No. 102, which allows nations to enact social security laws based on their peculiarities but without prejudice to the global minimum standards, this Bill seeks to provide a comprehensive legal and governance framework for the proper administration of an inclusive national social security protection system that offers adjustable periodic benefits to eligible Nigerians who face improvidence arising from the eight uncovered domains.
“This Bill seeks to establish a Commission which shall, amongst others, determine the beneficiaries of social security benefits across the country, taking into consideration available resources, equity, severity of ascertained improvident conditions and contingencies, and such other factors that will promote national peace, unity and security through the social security system,” he said.
In their separate contributions, Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Kebbi State) and Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC, Niger State), expressed their support for the bill.
While commending the Deputy President of the Senate for the initiative, they noted that it would go a long way in resolving the security challenges confronting the nation as the poor, weak and vulnerable would be provided safety nets. With this, they argued that such persons would stop being willing tools for those with the sinister motive of wrecking havoc on the country.
“This is another people-centred legislation. It will be a landmark legislation that Nigerians will remember this Ninth Senate for. I therefore urge my colleagues to support this bill”, said Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi.
President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, referred the bill to the Committee on Establishment and Public Service for further work after passing Second Reading.
The Committee was given four weeks to report back to the Senate.