By Favour Nnabugwu
THE Presidency and the Federal Ministry of Finance are yet to sign the African Trade Insurance, ATI, treaty thus delaying the country’s membership of the regional body.
ATI is a pan-African institution that provides political risk insurance to companies, investors, and lenders interested in doing business in Africa.
The Nigerian government is expected to make $50 million commitment, through the National Insurance Commission, NAICOM, which would enable it to attract more Foreign Direct Investments by insuring its trade and investments.
NAICOM has paid $20 million, with commitment to pay the outstanding $30 million as soon as the country gets the backing of the President, Federal Ministry of Finance and the legislature in order to become a full-fledged member of ATI.
Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmad confirming the situation, however, indicated government’s willingness to join the body.
Speaking in Abuja, at a forum on De-risking Nigeria’s Investments and Trade, organised by ATI last week, Ahmad said the Federal Executive Council had, in September 2017, granted approval for Nigeria to join ATI, in order to provide risk guarantees for foreign investments, as well as boost exports in the country.
She, however, failed to disclose why the delay in signing up the nation’s membership.
Ahmad expressed hope that the entry of ATI would change the fortune of trade and investment flows, with the enabling of the Economic Growth and Recovery Programme of the present administration.
She said, “Nigeria, therefore, feel justified with its decision to join the Presidency and the office of league of countries and international bodies as co-members in view of the expected value addition to the Nigerian economy. We believe that there could not have been a better time than now to subscribe to the agency considering that our economic challenges are easing”.
The Chief Executive Officer of ATI, Mr. George Otieno said that the agency founded in 2001 by African states to cover the trade and investment risks of companies doing business in Africa has almost $300 million in its capital base, and has made strong impact in 14 member countries within the region.
Otieno also noted that ATI’s presence in Nigeria was not meant to be competitive to other financial and insurance institutions, but provide some complementary solutions.