• Sunday, December 03, 2023
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Insurers want next president to reflate economy

NHIA Act: Govt, insurers agree on roles but employers undecided

Insurance operators in Nigeria want the next president to focus on policies that will drive economic development as well as encourage the growth of the insurance sector for effective risk management and stability of the economy.

They said the new government must encourage the growth of insurance because it will stimulate access to local capital and investment in the productive economy.

“I think our expectations are generally on the economy. The three major candidates are liberal and pro-economy and private sector-driven businesspeople. I believe the president-elect will initiate policies and laws that will stimulate economic development in order to pull 50 million Nigerians out of poverty,” Mayowa Adeduro, managing director/CEO of Tangerine Insurance, said.

Adeduro said there must be deliberate policies to cut unemployment below 10 percent and boost GDP growth to 15 percent in the next five years.

“Unfortunately, there is no magic wand for this. We must initiate laws to cut down recurrent expenditure by 50 percent, and emphasis must be placed on education, including adult literacy, health, and rural infrastructure,” he said.

Adeduro said fiscal and monetary policies must be in harmony and transparent, with government officials held accountable to the public.

He said the government must encourage the growth of insurance because it will stimulate access to local capital and investment in a productive economy.

“Policy consistency must be encouraged. Key performance indicators must be set early for the ministers and cascade down to key bureaucrats in ministries and parastatals.”

Rotimi Edu, president of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers, expressed confidence in the capability and pedigree of the president-elect, Bola Tinubu, to steer the ship of the nation to a safe mooring.

Edu urged him to focus on reflating the national economy, solving problems of insecurity and unemployment, as well as uniting the different ethnic segments of the country, for a cohesive national aspiration.

He advised Tinubu to make conscious efforts to recognise the insurance industry as the pivotal risk management device in the country’s economic revival initiatives.

“It is the belief of our council that given the required government support for the existing compulsory insurances and creation of a more clement environment for insurance to thrive, the industry would be roused to its full potential of contributing more hugely to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product,” Edu said.

Edwin Igbiti, president and chairman of the council of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, said the incoming government faces a number of significant challenges including insecurity, a flagging economy and an increasing debt burden.

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He said the government would have to take significant steps to tackle these issues and get the country on the path of double-digit growth.

According to him, insurance has a role to play, to provide platforms for people and businesses to take risks, which ultimately increase the supply of goods and services, create jobs, and grow the economy.

He said an environment that encourages the investments the country needs to push up growth will be beneficial to all Nigerians and the insurance industry as well.

“That would be our focus,” Igbiti said.

Igbiti said elections in developing democracies like Nigeria tend to be accompanied by tension because of the possibility of violence.

He said: “For insurance, the main concern tends to be around the impact of these potentially violent situations. Of course, while insurers may take some steps to protect themselves from the impact of these events, we also want to be mindful of the risks our customers face and provide relief where it is necessary.

“While we encourage consumers to be aware of their risks at all times, there is usually a heightened awareness of risk during these periods.”