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Chuks Udo Okonta
The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) on Thursday sought the intervention of the Federal Government on two major issues – enactment of insurance law and excessive taxation which are stemming insurance growth.
The Commissioner for Insurance Mohammed Kari, made the demand at the inauguration of the Insurers’ Committee in Abuja. He called on the Minister of Finance Mrs Kemi Adeosun to see to the process and enactment of the law to enable the industry play its rightful part in the developmental programs of the government.
He also drawn the attention of the government to the excessive and supposed unfair assessment modalities being used by tax authorities for tax computation of its finances
“The industry has been yearning for a review of the Insurance laws in the country, to these end an insurance bill was drafted and submitted to the Ministry of Finance with the full involvement of all stakeholders. Almost five years later nothing has been heard of it. We strongly solicit the Minister to see to the process and enactment of this law so as to enable the industry play its rightful part in the developmental programs of the government.
“The industry has complained of excessive and supposed unfair assessment modalities being used by tax authorities for tax computation of its finances. We plead with the new government and the tax authorities to pick interest on this and continue with the engagement with the industry to find lasting solution to this problem, so that the industry can play the expected role of investible and developmental fund provider for the Nigerian economy,” he said.
He raised concern over government’s general attitude to insurance, stressing that there is need for an improvement.
“There is low patronage of insurance by government and its agencies and the lack of effort to protect public assets. Even when it does, the funding is haphazard. It is common knowledge that the ability of government to replace damaged or lost asset is not as sound as it use to be as such insurance is the best alternative to no protection at all. Employees, especially our gallant forces fighting in security challenges need to have the comfort of insurance protection as they confront their duties.
“There is an apparent lack of Insurance expertise in the civil service as such government is not guided properly internally as it ventures to deal with the industry. The position of insurance is virtually non-existent in the civil service’s scheme of service, for the few insurance professionals are not placed properly to play their professional role,” he said.
He said while the Insurance industry accepts it challenges and undertakes to wrestle them head on, there is need for the biggest stakeholder; government; to partner with the industry more, going forward.
Kari charged insurers on the need to significantly increase insurance contribution to Gross Domestic Product; deliver jobs in this industry and widen access by growing the number of insurance policyholders in the country.
According to him, the Insurers’ Committee will provides a platform for all Chief Executives of insurance companies in Nigeria to sit with the regulator to discuss issues affecting the Industry and proffer steps on developing the business of insurance with the goal of having an effective, efficient performance and improved contribution to the Gross Domestic Product of the nation.