By Favour Nnabugwu
Federal government has directed the nation’s insurance industry to attract foreign investment to the country, following the various reforms carried out to strengthen the sector.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun at the 2017 National Insurance Conference organized by the International Insurance Industry Consultative Council (IICC) theme, ‘Nigeria Open for Business’ in Abuja on Monday.
Foreign investors have shown great interest in the Nigerian insurance sector by entering into the marketand progress can be seen in the introduction of new insurance products in the growing mortgage and housing sector.
Adeosun represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Dr Mahmud Isa-Dutse told insurance operators at the conference, “We expect that Industry reforms will continue to drive investments and new market entry.”
According to her, “We expect that Industry reforms will continue to drive investments and new market entry.”
“As the Federal Government, we appreciate the fact that the insurance industry isdynamic and creates employment and entrepreneurship opportunities at all levels.”
She said the federal government is not unmindful of its responsibility to ensure adequate insurance of its assets, “To consolidate on progress being made, the Federal Government would play its part to ensure that Government assets are adequately insured.”
While she assured of government support to the sector, “We will therefore, support this sector to continue to contribute effectively to sustainable and inclusive economic growth.”
She noted that the sector had grown in recent years and should therefore be able to command investment to the country.
The Minister stated, “The Nigerian insurance industry has evolved with premium growing from about N75bn in 2005 to over N300bn today, it contributes approximately 0.07 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product, which is less than the African average of 3.3 per cent and the global average of seven per cent.”
Amplifying the position of the Minister, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah admonished the sector to move away from the rhetorics of conferences where critical issues are discussed and end right there without a strong follow up for actualisation.
“Insurance industry is so important and so critical to the country. The secret of achieving relevance of insurance sector is to accept responsibility and get a clear vision for the industry.”
According to him, “It is not about gathering here and discussing critical issues that command people to clap their hands and that is it. Insurance industry need to move beyond the rhetorics make something meaningful from the conference.”
While welcoming operators to the conference, the Commissioner for Insurance, Alhaji Mohammed Kari said the theme of the conference, ‘Nigeria open for Business” used to be a political statement until the current administration made it a reality.
He said, “The chosen theme: “Nigeria open for Business” is a subject which has been used as apolitical statement of intent until the coming of the present administration, that has turned it into an a calculated strategy of governance that has made simplification of during business in Nigeria a reality.”
He added, “If the dream to make Nigeria easy for business is to be realized, then the way financial regulation is constituted in Nigeria need an urgent review.”
The Commissioner for Insurance further stated, “Insurance is but a vital link in the vast chain of business activities in any economy. While being the best vehicle for reducing economic loss, it also serves as a stabilizer and promoter of an economy’s commercial activities. These are second to providing vast accumulation of investible capital for the economy.”