Mrs Ekeoma Esther Ezeibe, Chairman Nigerian Insurance Industry Committee on AfCFTA
The Commissioner for Insurance today Wednesday 25th May, 2022 inaugurated the Nigerian Insurance Industry Committee on AfCFTA said furtherance of National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) resolve to ensure that the Nigerian insurance industry not only responds appropriately to developments in the larger society but is united in its responses to these developments.
It will be recalled, Nigeria Insurance Commissioner, Mr Oloraundare Sunday Thomas, said sequel to the need to enhance involvement of the Nigerian insurance industry in the activities of the National Action Committee on African Continental Free Trade Area (NAC AfCFTA), it was resolved at the 9th Meeting of the Insurers’ Committee held on 1st of July 2021 that each arm of the Nigerian insurance industry should nominate experienced representatives to participate on the relevant Workstream of the National Action Committee on AfCFTA (NAC-AfCFTA).
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Nigerian Insurance Industry have inaugurated fifteen (15) members committee representatives which Mrs Ekeoma Esther Ezeibe Chair while Mr Lanre Ojuola serve as Secretary to work/liaise with the NAC-AfCFTA to ensure that the Nigerian insurance industry effectively exploits the benefits of AfCFTA.
To give effect to this resolution, he said the different arms of the Nigerian Insurance Industry were requested to nominate/provide representatives that would work/liaise with the NAC-AfCFTA. Even though the nominations were subsequently conveyed to NAC-AfCFTA, there has been no effective engagements between NAC-AfCFTA and the representatives, Thomas added.
Nonetheless, NAICOM Boss said implementation of the AfCFTA agreement has gained tremendous traction. According to him, in fact, 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.
“The NAC-AfCFTA has also informed the Commission of its intention to organize another stakeholders’ workshop for the Nigerian insurance sector.”
Sequel to these developments, Insurance Commissioner noted 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.
Consequently, he pointed out 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. 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, CFI stressed.
According to the commissioner, terms of reference for the Nigerian Insurance Industry Committee On AFCFTA contained that the Committee 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. He further stated that the Terms of Reference of the Committee include the following:
i) Coordinate and articulate the Nigerian insurance industry’s response to the AfCFTA Agreement and its implementation.
ii) Develop and ensure implementation of measures to ensure that the industry effectively exploits the benefits of AfCFTA.
iii) Develop and ensure implementation of measures to protect the Nigerian insurance industry from being negatively impacted by AfCFTA.
iv) Engage and/or liaise with relevant bodies and agencies such as the National Action Committee on AfCFTA, Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations on implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement and any such body.
v) Lead bilateral negotiations with any interested State Party regarding the Nigerian insurance sector.
vi) Regularly consult with relevant stakeholders to ensure that positions or views canvassed are reflective of the interest of the Nigerin insurance industry.
vii) Attend relevant meetings, seminars, workshops, conferences, etc and articulate the Nigerian insurance industry’s views on AfCFTA.
viii) Submit regular updates/reports regarding developments on AfCFTA and activities of the Committee to NAICOM.
ix) Carry out such other relevant activity(s) that the Committee may consider beneficial to the Nigerian insurance industry in respect of AfCFTA implementation.
The Commission has already informed the National Action Committee on AfCFTA of the constitution of the Committee including the membership and Terms of Reference of the Committee, he said.
“We have also enjoined the National Action Committee on AfCFTA to collaborate with the Committee on matters relating to the implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement in order to ensure that it is done in the overall interest of the Nigerian insurance industry.
“It is noteworthy to restate that your appointment into this Committee is in recognition of your vast experience, track record of selfless service and dedication to the cause of the Nigerian insurance industry, which the Industry believes will aid attainment of the mandate of the Committee which is to ensure beneficial implementation of the AfCFTA.