It is with great pleasure that I welcome you all to this inauguration of the Committee for Review of the Insurance (Consolidated) Bill.
The Review of this bill is long overdue and is key to repositioning the insurance industry and ensuring that it plays its expected role in the financial services industry and the wider economy.
As you no doubt aware, this administration is committed to the revival of this economy. However, in the spirit of “change” the economy of the future needs to be different from the past. The new economy must be well diversified and protected from the destabilizing effects of oil price fluctuations. We believe we can grow the non-oil sectors of the economy particularly agriculture, solid minerals and manufacturing.
However, we have identified the constraints to the growth of these sectors and they are largely centered around infrastructure and ease of doing businesses. We are therefore proposing investment in our essential infrastructure including power, housing, road, rail and air transport as we believe that these will have a fiscal multiplier effect on the economy. The spending stimulus to be provided by government investment will kick start the economy releasing funds to contractors, and other counterparties that will stimulate spending, boost economic activity.
Suffice it to say that it is consequent upon this urgent need to reposition the insurance subsector to enable it play its significant role in the economy that the then Honourable Minister of Finance, Dr. Shamsuddeen Usman set up a committee under the chairmanship of Professor Joe Irukwu to, among others, identify the factors that hinders insurance growth in Nigeria. As we may all be aware, one of these factors was identified to be the poor legal framework which is considered highly prescriptive. On this premise, the Committee went to work.
I would take this opportunity to appreciate the effort of Chairman and Members of that Committee for their commitment, devotion, passion, diligence and the zeal with which they carried out their assigned task. Your contribution is recognized and appreciated. I thank you.
The work of that Committee led to the draft of the proposed Insurance (Consolidated) Bill. The draft Bill provides for a proposed law which provides for basic principles, allowing details to be provided by way of regulations and guidelines. This is intended to:
? Promote timely and proactive intervention to protect policyholders and other stakeholders.
? Promote discipline, ethical practices and sound market conduct
? Enhance insurance penetration, awareness & growth
? Promote employment generation
As this administration is very committed to developing the Nigerian economy and insurance being a strategic tool towards that, I found it most appropriate to set up this Committee to:
I. Critically review the Draft Insurance (Consolidated) Bill with a view to ensuring it meets all the basic tenants of a Framework Law or a Principle-based legislation.
II. Make a comparative review of the Draft Insurance (Consolidated) Bill to align it with the power of other financial services regulators in Nigeria.
III. Examine current market problems and recommend appropriate regulatory powers to allow the Insurance Regulator act appropriately.
IIII. Review all other Insurance laws and update the Draft Insurance (Consolidated) Bill to align with international best practice.
V. Make such other recommendations as you may deem necessary for the overall good of the Insurance Industry.
You should endeavour to identify other Nigerian Laws that conflict or compliment the activities of the insurance sector with a view of advising Government of the need to merge, consolidate or repeal so as to have a seamless functional regulation for the sector.
My office was very careful in choosing the composition of this Committee. Your choice as members of the Committee resulted from consideration of your rich profiles, knowledge and individual contributions towards the development of Insurance in your various capacities. It is my expectation that you will deploy your considerable wealth of experience in the discharge of these responsibilities.
I call on all, especially the Nigerian Insurance Industry to take this opportunity to fully cooperate with the committee to come up with a draft that would be the impetus for rapid growth not only for their sector but the Nation and in particular all consumers of insurance services alike.
I am pleased that you are all in attendance for the inauguration which signifies acceptance to be of service to our nation. I thank you very much for answering this national call to serve and have no doubt that you will certainly deliver. I shall always be available to provide all necessary support in the execution of your assignment.
Mr. Chairman, please note that your Committee has 90 days or less effective today to conclude its assignment and make its submission to my office.
On this note, I hereby formally inaugurate this Committee.
Mrs. Kemi Adeosun,
Hon. Minister of Finance