By Matthew Denis Abuja
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed on Friday inaugurated the boards of National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) and that of Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM) for another five tenures considering the effort put in enhancing business activities.
The Minister while inaugurating the boards of the two Organisations separately urged the NAICOM Board to prepare their minds on the tasks ahead considering Mr. President’s interest in repositioning the insurance industry by making it attractive to investors and the insuring Public. The Minister tasked them to familiarise themselves with the functions, procedures, rules and regulations of the industry which will enable them function effectively and efficiently.
She said, “It’s your responsibility to ensure that good corporate governance is entrenched in the Commission, support management in creating enabling environment for both staff and stakeholders to work in harmony.
Ahmed stressed the need for the Board and management to evolve policies and create new insurance products as well as build the desired trust and confidence in the minds of Nigerians with a view to enhancing insurance penetration.
On the part of NEXIM, the Minister gave the applauded the Bank for now having a healthy balance sheet, which has grown from about N63 billion in April 2017 to the current level of N250 billion, added its recovery from a loss of N8 billion in 2016 to sustained profitability, reaching N4.1 billion in 2021.
According to her, “I wish to specifically commend your efforts towards the realisation of policy objectives of government in the areas of economic diversification and creation ot jobs for our citizens by attracting concessional funds into the export sector through strategic partnership.”
She expressed optimism that in the next five years, the government hopes to see a quantum leap in the contribution of the non-oil sector to export revenue to at least 30 per cent.
“This believe is possible and government will be willing and ready to give you thee desired support to achieve this target.
“The threat of a mono product economy is real, and the recent episode of the COVID-19 pandemic has further underscored the need for Nigeria to widen its export basket and deepen its export market,” Ahmed noted.
While Commissioning NAICOM Portal at the Commission’s headquarters, the Minister urged the commission to leverage technology to harness the abundant opportunities for growth in the insurance market by developing new innovative products based on data and customer preferences and introduction of new channels of distribution beyond the traditional channels to reach new segments of the market.
According to her there is also a need for cooperation with other agencies of government to enforce compulsory insurance in the country.
She said “Stakeholders in the industry must consciously and intentionally spread the reach of insurance from the major cities and few states to other regions of the country, especially the rural areas. Low penetration in the retail end of the market must also be addressed through vigorous drive of inclusive Insurance like micro insurance and takaful.
“Dwindling Government revenue profile demands that the commission must look into ways of increasing its revenue through the use of technology and the portal in particular. I urge the commission to ensure the portal is connected to other government databases like the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) NIN database, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) Passport database, Nigeria Integrated Customs Information system, FRSC’s National Vehicle Identification System, the National Vehicle Registry, State Licensing Databases among others in order to provide value added services to all Insurance Industry stakeholders and enhance revenue generation.