A review of the major and important fact worth knowing about the Act by Razaq Ayeni
This Act was enacted to cater for the Workers’ training and see to the welfare of the fund donated by the Federal Government and the employers. It is an Act that has 8th October 1971 but that has later been amended in the year 2011.
The Fund mentioned in this Act is the sum amount of money provided by the Federal Government for the purpose of providing industrial work experience for the students in the tertiary institution of learning that may need some Practical work experience during their schooling. It also makes sure the Fund is channeled through the Ministry of Industry.
The Fund will be used to promote and encourage the acquisition of skills by the workers that is an employee and undergraduate studying courses that need practical ideas and knowledge during their years in school.
There is a body set to see to the administering of the Fund in accordance with the laid down provisions of this Act. The body is called the Industrial Training Fund Governing Council. The body has corporate with perpetual succession and they shall have a common seal.
The council as this Act refers to the body discussed earlier is saddled with the responsibility to provide and approve such course and facilities available for the workers and student during the period they are acquiring skills. They also assist in getting the facility for employment and carry out research for matter relating to training. Acquiring and holding properties be it movable or immovable is another power the council has.
The Fund will have a person to serve in the capacity of Director General as appointed by the Minister and duly approved by the president. He is charged with such duties as an assessment of the contribution and disbursement of the Fund under this Act. The Director-General will account for all money and do everything possible to see that the aim of this Act is achieved.
A compulsory donation of one per centum of the yearly payroll of an employer who has up to twenty-five employees is expected in the Fund account for smooth running and success of this Act. This Act recognized 1971 as the year which says compliance should be three months after and subsequent year as a date not later than the 1st of April the following year.
Employee according to this Act means all persons whether or not they are Nigerians employed in any establishment in return for salary, wages or other consideration, and whether employed full-time or part-time, and includes temporary employees who work for periods of not less than thirty days. Payroll is referred to by this Act as the sum total of all basic pay allowances and other entitlements payable within and outside Nigeria to any employee in an establishment, public or private. Contribution is referred to by this Act as underpayment and any interest or penalty payable or for late payment, as the case may be.
The Council may refund about 60 per centum of the fund received from any employer who has done the right thing by training the employee and students, but the council will verify to be sure such employer really trained the employee. It is obligatory for the employer of labour to make sure they make available to the staff or employee in order to improve their skills, giving than what is needed to perform better at work but such employer will have to present evidence of the training. All employers must accept a student for job attachment without delay and much stress.
Penalty: In lieu of the provisions of this Act discussed above, any employer who violates it will be held liable and will be guilty of an offence which will attract a fine of N500,000 for a corporate body when it is their first breach of the Act and N1,000,000 for each next breach. For Chief Executive and any other principal officer of the company, it will be a fine of N50,000 or two years imprisonment for the first breach and two years imprisonment without the option for fine for any subsequent breach.
When an employer decides not to contribute the said amount of money meant to boost the smooth running of this scheme, such employer will be made to pay a sum equal to five per centum of the money not paid which will be added monthly to the original amount prescribed by this Act for payment. Such a penalty might be remitted in whole or part, this is done according to what the council deems fit at the moment. Notwithstanding, the provision of this Act made it clear that the Director-General may if he thinks fit waive in whole or in part any penalty imposed under this section.
In addition to keeping proper records and account with a statement of account by the council, they shall cause the account to be audited yearly by the auditor duly certified by the Director-general and the minister. It is now the duty of the appointed auditor to audit, prepare and furnish a report to the council. This is done for the council to give their perspective and observation about the account for the year.
This Act says “a copy of an entry in the accounts of the fund or another extract from the records of the Fund duly certified by the Director-General be sent in all courts as prima facie evidence of the truth of the content thereof”. This case may be in debt to Fund by any person.
The minister is saddled with the power to determine questions in some special cases which have to do with the liability of an employer to pay contributions under this Act.
The director-general may request an employer to file returns or other information to be kept and produced for further examination. Should in case any employer fails or neglect to furnish in returns as specified in this Act, such employer will be levied an amount as a penalty which is levied on the employer by the Director-General or any other staff that is authorized by the Director-General. If any employer should file in false return, he or she shall be guilty and will be penalized in line with the penalty discussed earlier tagged penalty.
The council of this Act has a constitution which regulates and help them ensure the smooth flow of the Fund and it lists out the issues like the governing council and its membership formation, it also state out the power and duties of the chairman, the Director-General and how the council should handpick its members having a representative from the Federal Ministry of Labour and productivity, National Planning Commission, Budget office of the federation, one representative of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress in rotation for one year at a time.
The president shall on the advice of the minister appoint the chairman of the council. The council shall appoint a vice-chairman from its members not being a member representing the same interest as the chairman. The council shall meet twice or quarterly each year and they shall have a quorum for any meeting of the council shall be five representing at least three interest group.
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