June 10, 2024

FG hasn’t borrowed from pension funds – Ex-NAICOM boss



Olorundare Thomas, the immediate past Chief Executive Officer, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), says the Federal Government has not borrowed from the accumulated pension funds.

Speaking on Monday in Lokoja  at a public lecture of the Federal University, Lokoja, (FUL), Thomas expressed concern about insinuations that the Federal Government tampered with the pension funds.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the lecture is: “Insurance Solution In Wealth Creation and Sustainability” as it concerns  economic development of the country.

The ex-NAICOM boss explained the economic challenges in the country did not translate to the Federal Government tampering with the pension funds.

“Some situations change and challenges occur that interrupt or prevent the build-up and re-investment of wealth among citizens of a nation.

“In spite of the best laid plans, life incidences and surprises will continue to happen.

“These surprises, called risks, often require the diversion of resources away from created wealth.

“The optimality of resources is the true definition of an economic growth centered on a real growth without creating other significant economic challenges or without negative effect on other sectors of the economy.

“There is no doubt that wealth in minerals and human resources can  also partially define the wealth of a nation.

“But the misconception that countries with vast natural resources will  translate to automatic economic growth, creation of jobs, increase government revenues.

“This will help to finance poverty alleviation and many other positive reflections of the true dividend of development may be a mirage,” he said.

According to him, statistics have  shown that some countries that are without natural resources grow at about four times more rapidly than other resource-rich countries.

“It is simply because the dynamics for determining the wealth of a nation is changing.

“This is why we are inundated with  the reality of embarking on adventures that will guarantee, not only creation of wealth but also ensuring its sustainability.

“It is important to note that the insurance industry is one of the few sectors that continues to record growth in spite of the economic recession and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

“From a premium of N282 billion in 2015, the Nigerian insurance industry generated gross premium income of N616.1 billion in 2021, N789.7 billion in 2022 and a record breaking N1.003 trillion as at the end of December 2023.

“Also, the asset of the Nigerian insurance industry grew from N827.5 billion in 2015 to N2.5 trillion in 2022 and N2.7 trillion as at December, 2023.

“It is, therefore, comforting that the insurance industry is now more willing to meet the needs of the insuring populace through insurance solutions and products,” he said.

He said that NAICOM was a statutory agency of the Federal Government established by the National Insurance Commission Act 1997 to regulate and supervise the Nigerian insurance sector and so serve as  adviser to the government on all insurance related matters.

Earlier,  the FUL Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Olayemi Akinwumi, described the ex-NAICOM boss  as a seasoned insurance expert whose choice for the university’s seventh distinguished public lecture was apt and timely, considering the economic condition of the country.

“Thomas is a seasoned professional whose extensive experience and profound insights have significantly contributed to  development of the insurance industry in Nigeria.

“His topic is not only timely but also pivotal to our understanding of how strategic financial planning can drive sustainable economic growth.

“In a world that is increasingly complex and filled with uncertainties, the role of insurance cannot be overstated.

“It serves as a safety net that allows individuals and businesses to take calculated risks, innovate and invest in opportunities that drive wealth creation.

“Moreover, insurance mechanisms are crucial in ensuring  sustainability of these ventures by mitigating potential losses and facilitating recovery in the face of adversity, ” he said.

Vanguard News