NAICOM inaugurates insurance committee on AfCFTA

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From Uche Usim, Abuja

Commissioner for Insurance (CFI), National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Mr Sunday Thomas, inaugurated on Wednesday the Nigerian Insurance Industry Committee (NIIC) on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in an effort to deepen the involvement of the insurance sector in the activities of the regional trade platform.

Speaking at the inauguration, Thomas said the move was a fallout of the 9th Meeting of the Insurers’ Committee held on the 1st of July 2021, in which it was unanimously agreed that each arm of the Nigerian insurance industry should nominate experienced representatives to participate in the relevant workstream of the National Action Committee on AfCFTA (NAC-AfCFTA).

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Consequently, different arms of the Nigerian insurance industry were requested to nominate/provide representatives that would work/liaise with the NAC-AfCFTA.

The NAICOM boss lamented that though the nominations were subsequently conveyed to NAC-AfCFTA, there have been no effective engagements between NAC-AfCFTA and the representatives, despite the fact that the implementation of the AfCFTA agreement has gained tremendous traction.

He noted that the Commission has recently been requested by the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN) to participate in several meetings including to receive/verify final Schedule of Specific Commitment, for onward transmission to the Senior Trade Officials.

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He further explained that NAC-AfCFTA has also informed the Commission of its intention to organize another stakeholders’ workshop for the Nigerian insurance sector.

In view of these developments, Mr Thomas revealed that at the 11th meeting of the Insurers’ Committee held on 7th April 2022 in Lagos, it was resolved that a standing committee should be constituted to coordinate the Nigerian insurance industry’s response as well as develop and implement strategies/measure to ensure that the Nigerian insurance industry effectively exploits the benefits of AfCFTA.

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He explained that in order to avoid duplication of committees and save time, it was resolved that the earlier representatives/nominees of NIA, NCRIB and ILAN, that were forwarded to NAC-AfCFTA, be transformed into a Standing Committee of the Nigerian Insurance Industry that will deal with matters relating to AfCFTA, adding that the NIA, NCRIB and ILAN were thus consulted to reaffirm or update their nominees while NAICOM also designated some of its staff as members of the Committee.

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Members of the Committee are Mrs Ekeoma Esther Ezeibe who will be the Chairman. Other members of the Committee include Mr Tunde Hassan-Odukale, Mrs Funmi Omo, Mrs Yetunde Ilori, Mr Shola Ajibade, Mr Sina Elusakin, Mr Eric Omozejele, Mrs Bimbo Onakomaiya, and Mr Bola Temowo.

Other members of the Committee are Pst Ikechukwu Udobi, Chief LebiOmoboyowa, Mr Usman Jankara, Mr Taiwo Adeoye, Mr Ahmed Metteden, and Mr LanreOjuola from NIA who will act as Secretary.

The terms of reference of the Committee, among other things, is to coordinate the Nigerian insurance industry’s strategic response to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as well as to liaise with relevant agencies of government and other bodies on the implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement in the Nigerian insurance industry. The Terms of Reference of the Committee include the following:

Coordinate and articulate the Nigerian insurance industry’s response to the AfCFTA Agreement and its implementation.

Develop and ensure implementation of measures to ensure that the industry effectively exploits the benefits of AfCFTA.

Develop and ensure implementation of measures to protect the Nigerian insurance industry from being negatively impacted by AfCFTA.

Engage and/or liaise with relevant bodies and agencies such as the National Action Committee on AfCFTA, the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations on implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement and any such body.

Lead bilateral negotiations with any interested State Party regarding the Nigerian insurance sector.

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