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FG set to pay N11bn insurance premium for workers

By The Citizen
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The Federal Government has concluded arrangements to release N11bn for the payment of premium on the Group Life Insurance policy for its workers nationwide.

The Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Alhaji Goni Aji, disclosed this on Monday.

The announcement will gladden the hearts underwriters, who have been nursing fears that six months into the year, the Federal Government, which is their biggest customer, may not be able to insure its workers for 2013.

Aji also told our correspondent that the government was ready to pay the outstanding N7bn premium for the insurance of its workers for 2011 and 2012.

'There will be cover for the workers this year. What we have in the appropriation bill for 2013 insurance cover is N11bn. The total outstanding premium for 2011 and 2012 is about N7bn; that is, N4bn for 2012 and N3bn for N2011,' he said.

The HOS said the government prioritised the welfare of its employees and that the insurance cover would serve as an encouragement for families of deceased workers.

However, he added that the government had to manage available resources in the light of competing demands.

Aji said what caused the six-month delay in the payment of workers' insurance policy premium for the current financial year was because his office could not secure on time the certification from the Due Process Office, which was required for the payment.

He added that his office finally received the certificate about two weeks ago.

The HOS also explained that the process of payment of the group life insurance for the federal workers had changed as it was now being handled by the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation.

He explained that the Federal Executive Council had approved that the payment of insurance premium should be carried out by the office of the AGF.

Aji said the OHCSF office had forwarded a letter to that effect to President Goodluck Jonathan for approval and was asked to revert back to the earlier approval of FEC for the office of the AGF to pay.

He said, 'The way it is done now is that the Ministry of Finance gives the instruction to Director-General of the Budget Office and the DG officially sends it to the Accountant-General's office; the Accountant-General releases the funds to the HOS and the HOS now pays into the respective insurers' bank accounts and all that.

'So, it is just a question of electronically instructing the office of the Accountant-General to pay so that it can now reduce the time deployed to process it.'

Aji added that whether the full premium for this year would be paid or not depended on the level of revenue generation and inflow to the Federal Government.

In 2008, the Federal Government started the group life insurance scheme for its entire workforce with the first premium of N4bn.

The regulation backing the scheme is contained in Section 9(3) of the Pension Reform Act, 2004, which states that the employer shall maintain life insurance policy in favour of the employee for a minimum of three times the annual total emolument of the employee.

The accruing benefit is to be paid to the dependants of the worker if he losses his life while on active service. – Punch