The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) is not broke, the Commissioner for Insurance, Mohammed Kari, has said.
He spoke in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, while reacting to insinuations by some operators and shareholders that the Commission has resorted to penalising them with huge fines to raise funds.
The operators believe that NAICOM became broke as a result of its exclusion by the Federal Government from the list of departments and agencies that receive subvention to aid its regulatory operations two years ago.
But Kari said the Commission decided to up the level of compliance in the industry hence, the heavy penalties.
He said: “Government removed NAICOM from the list of department and agencies that receive subvention because it thinks it can survive without any financial support. At the time the financial support was stopped, government’s income has gone down to a level and indeed this directive was issued in the days of corruption.
“So, it doesn’t mean something is wrong with NAICOM and we have survived since then.
“It is not that we are imposing fines on people because we are broke. We just wanted to up the level of compliance and in all the finding we have made, nobody has ever challenged us for imposing illegal fines. But anytime we move to improve the level of compliance, somebody will find a reason to rubbish what we are trying to do.
“The good ones pay quietly but the bad ones complain and don’t pay. We have up the compliance game and it has made a lot of difference. We are willing to continue taking complaints from them as long as we satisfy the consumer,” he said.
In September 2013, the government informed NAICOM that it would stop receiving budgetary allocations from 2014.
The former Commissioner for Insurance, Fola Daniel said adequate measures had been in place to remain self-sufficient.
Explaining that the government’s decision did not come as a surprise, Daniel said long before the Federal Government voiced out its decision to stop financial support to NAICOM, the commission had been remitting funds to the national treasury.
“We can fund ourselves. In 2012, we remitted over N1 billion into the government treasury.
“The government’s decision is a good thing for us because the government has many responsibilities pressing for attention. We believe that the resources being allocated to us can be channeled elsewhere,” the commissioner said.