Justice for informal workers: protecting the rights of informal workers

The continual exclusion of informal workers from retirement savings/pensions scheme and health insurance across Nigeria and the rest of Africa is an economic injustice to them. The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), in Chapter two under Fundamental Directives and Objective Principles of State Policies noted in Section 16 (2d) “that suitable and adequate shelter, suitable and adequate food, reasonable national minimum living wage, old age care and pensions, and unemployment, sick benefits and welfare of the disabled are provided for all citizens.” Where all citizens were cited, only formal workers have so far been integrated to national/state health insurance scheme, despite the 1% consolidated revenue counterpart funding laws/Act enacted by the State and Federal government to fund the health insurance. The extant pension Act is also implemented in breach, even for formal workers, but there has been no plan to integrate the informal workers into either the pension scheme or health insurance scheme. Indeed, this is a breach of the above cited section of the constitution and an economic injustice to informal workers who enjoy no benefit from the government equitably, yet are usually found being coerced into paying multiple taxes to National, state and local governments. The Jurys Movement has conducted some research and recommended to government at State levels to introduce a tax for social benefits. This implies that social benefits such as retirement savings account and health insurance shall be simultaneously funded as tax is being collected and paid by the informal workers, and there shall be tax refund once any informal workers pays over 10% above the sectors tax agreed average. Indeed, if justice.must be served on the behalf of those earning cash based irregular income, out of pocket health expenses should be eliminated and retirement savings that accrue annual interest should be operated by them simultaneously deducted from whatever taxes they are paying to government. That way, the insurance and health sectors can also be well funded and developed to mest the growing population that now are entitled to health insurance.

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