THE National Insurance Commission, NAICOM, has said that the country is much likely to attain a sustained economic growth and development if it can adapt its insurance industry to innovative ways that will bring on board the generality of the country’s population. Fola Daniel, commissioner for insurance, said that NAICOM would enforce compulsory insurance policy in the country. “This initiative has been vigorously pursued by the commission across the six geo-political zones of the country. We are not hesitant to solicit support in the implementation of compulsory insurance in Nigeria especially as regards insurance of buildings and assets,” he said.
Daniel stated that the Nigerian insurance industry has witnessed tremendous changes in recent times owing to the new reforms embarked upon by NAICOM. “These reforms include the introduction of risk based supervision, migration to international financial reporting Standard, IFRS, from the Nigerian generally accepted accounting principles, NGAAP; market conduct reforms, claims settlement reforms, financial inclusion, among others. All of these are geared towards developing the industry and improving the general perception about insurance,” he said, adding: “Suffice it to say that these reforms are in line with the federal government’s vision 2020:20 of deepening insurance penetration to become the insurance industry of choice among the emerging markets in terms of capacity, safety, transparency and efficiency.”
Daniel stated that in order to ensure adequate understanding and build capacity amongst the stakeholders, the commission did resolve to conduct series of workshops and seminars for all stakeholders. Having also recognised the urgent need to develop the retail insurance market which has remained grossly untapped considering the vast population of the country, Daniel said that it became imperative for the commission to incorporate micro-insurance and Takaful as important vehicles for achieving greater insurance penetration in the country.
“In collaboration with GIZ of Germany and other development agencies, the commission in 2012 conducted a country-wide diagnostic study on the viability of micro-insurance in Nigeria. One of our goals was to generate at the end of the exercise, a document that will enable us take evidence – based decision on the issue of micro-insurance in Nigeria and also serve as a public resource in its own right. Indeed, the report of the study reveals huge potentials amongst the low income groups and was consequently adopted by NAICOM for the development of a micro insurance framework in Nigeria.”
Nigeria, Germany Strengthen Economic Ties
NIGERIA and Germany are set to partner on trade facilitation and micro, small and medium enterprises, MSMEs, development as part of efforts to strengthen the already existing economic ties between the two countries. Olusegun Aganga, minister of industry, trade and investment, said his ministry would work together with the German government to boost industrial skills development and improve access to finance for MSMEs across the country, in line with the focus of the national enterprises development programme, NEDEP.
“The meeting with the German Ambassador, which dwelt on a number of growth issues, was a fruitful one. Nigeria has always had a strong economic and trade relationship with Germany. They have been very helpful and played active roles in critical sectors of the Nigerian economy, such as the power sector where we have a large number of German companies. But specifically, today’s meeting focused on trade facilitation in terms of how we can partner to make it cheaper and quicker to export goods from Nigeria to other African countries by removing the barriers that impede trade. What the German government has done is to design an information and communications technology system that will help improve the non-trade barriers, which cause delay in movement of goods and also the cost and time of doing business in Nigeria. So, we are collaborating on how we can improve trade facilitation within the region,” he said.
Dorothee Janetzke-Wenzkel, German ambassador to Nigeria, said: “The basis of the meeting with the minister of industry, trade and investment, was to find out how much Germany is doing in terms of partnering with Nigeria on trade issues. We discussed the bi-national commission which Nigeria has with Germany, focusing particularly on energy but also on economic issues as a whole.
“Germany is also partnering Nigeria on vocational training in order to boost industrial skills acquisition and bridge skills gap in Nigeria. Most times, people don’t get the jobs because they lack the skills even when the jobs are there. We want more Nigerians to be trained so that they can use their skills to work. We also discussed specific projects that the German International Company for Co-operation in Nigeria is doing. We have looked at some businesses coming up which will be focusing on the informal sector of the Nigerian economy.”
Masters Bakers’ Case for Cassava Bread
THE Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria, has urged the federal government to empower members of the association to promote the cassava bread initiative. Simeon Abanuwulor, national president of the association, said the association was disappointed over several numerous bottlenecks that were militating against access to the Cassava Bread Development Fund, CBDF, by master bakers.
Abanuwulor explained that the cassava bread policy when fully implemented would provide jobs for hundreds of thousands of Nigerians ensure food security and increase profit for local farmers and bakers in the country. He said that the cassava bread project was a very good project for the country because the policy also would persuaded many people to return back to farming when they experience the profit cassava farmers would be making regularly.
According to him, the federal government has to take the implementation of the policy very seriously, and master bakers should be empowered to make this bread and other cassava based confectioneries available to all Nigerians. He pointed out that about 80 percent of bakers in Nigeria are still using outdated machines, which cannot effectively process the cassava to meet the demands of Nigerians; he said that the situation was responsible for the limitation in supply and distribution of the products.
He lamented also that the fund made available to empower prospective investors in cassava bread production had yet to be accessed by master bakers, adding that the association urged Nigerians to patronise cassava bread because it was not different from wheat bread. “Cassava bread is 20 percent cassava and 80 percent wheat; there is no difference between cassava bread and other type of bread that you may know,” he said.
Compiled by Anayo Ezugwu
— Jan. 27, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT