By Patience Saghana
Nigeria government through the National Insurance Commission is leading West African countries in statutory subvention to the West African Insurance Institute (WAII) as Liberia, Ghana and Gambia are indebted to the institute.
Speaking to Vanguard in Gambia, Dr Mike Ikupolati, Director-General of WAII commended the support and up to date commitment of the Nigerian government to the insurance institute.
Ikupolati said that the NAICOM has paid even the 2010 subvention to the institute whilst Liberia has a backlog of 14 years debt to WAII, Ghana owes about two years and Gambia.
Though he appreciated the efforts and supports of the Gambian government in updating its hosting right to the institute but lamented that the way the Gambia subvention is structured, is to be paid by insurance companies in that country which is difficult to coordinate.
Many of the companies owing the institute have gone into extinction while it is still difficult to get the subvention from existing insurance companies in the Gambia.
He explained that Liberia owes 14 years as a result of the war but the country has still not been able to pay the subvention to WAII even after the war in that country but said that Sierra Leone is trying hard to clear its debt to WAII on installment.
Nigeria has 35.5 percent stake in WAII; Ghana has 25 per cent, Gambia, Sierra Leone and Liberia each has 12.5 per cent.
â€œWe have students from the five member countries- Nigerian, Ghana, Gambia, Sierra Leone and Liberia but this year, we are planning to have students from other Anglophone countries within the Africa continent. We are expecting students from Uganda, Tanzania and from Namibia etcâ€
â€œWe are have a ten year strategic plan whereby the WAII can grow from being an institute to a financial services university for West Africa in order to be able to accommodate all the courses we have at the Aâ€™ level and post-graduate level. The appealing WAII is making is not only for the Nigerian insurance market but to the government of the five member countriesâ€
Meanwhile he said WAII would in July this year graduate its students who have completed their one year course in the school. He also stated that the graduation ceremony would be rounded up with merit ward, fellowship and Professor emeritus awards to Prof Jeo Irukwu and three others.
â€œWe had only had a population of 26 students when l got to the school in 2001 but today, WAII can boast of 215 graduates. Apart from that we no have on a yearly basis, about 300 students reading and pursuing different courses in WAII either in Gambia or from the various countriesâ€
â€œWe started expanding the activity of the school when l took over in 2003, and as today, we have over ten different courses on diploma level. And we also planned having post graduate studies as well as MBA programme. We have MBA programme in marketing, MBA in insurance and MBA in risk management, MBA in banking and finance and MBA in general management.
He told Vanguard that WAII and South African University will on the day of the graduation ceremony sign MOU
â€œWe have also formed partnership with South African University on Masters in Business Leadership and PHD in Business Leadership whilst we have some short courses that we are running in partnership with the South Africa institute. We are formalizing our Memorandum of Understanding with themâ€
He bemoaned that the challenged facing WAIII is majorly finance and going by the way the instituteâ€™s governing council has structured it, WAII would in no distant future attain financial in dependence but for the time being, the institute need all the financial support from the five West African countries.