By Rosemary Iwunze
As Nigeria settles down to the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, AFCFTA, the Federal Government, FG, is pushing for the full implementation of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, Brown Card Insurance Scheme to guarantee prompt compensation to victims of road accidents within ECOWAS member states.
Making this known at the inauguration of Mr. Ganiyu Musa as the Chairman of Council of Bureaux, ECOWAS Brown Card Insurance Scheme, in Abuja yesterday, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, noted that the existence of the scheme and its effective implementation will stimulate integration of the West African regional block preparatory to the full implementation of AfCFTA subscribed to by most ECOWAS countries.
Ahmed, who was represented by the Commissioner for Insurance/CEO of the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Mr. Sunday Thomas, applauded the initiative that welcomes the free movement of goods and services within a sub region and promotes intra – regional investments and cooperation, saying, it is a huge step in the right direction for economic integration.
Ahmed however stated: “There are challenges that must be addressed if the objectives of the ECOWAS Brown Card Scheme are to be fully achieved. These challenges include: lack of respect for the agreement signed by member countries; delay in settlement of claims due to victims; inadequate funding of the National Bureaux; lack of public awareness and education; fraud in the acquisition of the certificate at the borders; inadequate commitment to reconciliation and cross settlement; low level of technology application in the distribution and general implementation of the scheme, among others.”
In his acceptance speech, Musa said noted the brown card insurance scheme is an idea that could transform insurance, especially, motor insurance scheme across the borders of West African countries, adding that, it is an initiative that can raise insurance awareness and penetration across the region.
The main objective of the scheme, he said, is to ensure prompt and fair compensation to the victims of road accidents for the damages caused them by non residing motorists travelling from other ECOWAS member states to their country.
“The ECOWAS Brown Card Scheme operates through a 14 National Bureaux network spread throughout the fourteen member states. Each National Bureau plays two major roles. The National Bureau operates therefore as an Issuing Bureau to ensure Brown Card availability for local motorists, while also conducting investigation and settle claims arising from an accident caused by motorist holders of Brown Card.”