Stakeholders X-ray Progress In Oil, Gas

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Insurance professionals and other stakeholders in oil and gas insurance are set to review progress made in the sector, and to explore ways to develop capacity expertise to meet government expectations.

The review is expected to be the highpoint of the insurance stakeholders parliament, jointly packaged by Risk Analyst Insurance Brokers Limited and Financial Standard Newspaper Holding in Lagos on Thursday.

The Managing Director of Risk Analyst, Mrs. Funmi Babington-Ashaye disclosed this while addressing newsmen in Lagos. She expressed optimism that the parliament would afford the operators the much needed opportunity to address some of the unacceptable development in the oil and gas insurance sub-sector in the economy.

Determined to ensure that Nigerian individuals and business tap fully into the opportunities provided by the exploration and exploitation of petroleum in the country to better their lots, the Federal Government initiated a local content with which it mandated that a given percentage of business opportunities arising in content at 10 per cent and increased it toi 45 per cent the sector is reserved for local operators.

At inception of the policy, government pegged local by 2006, and intends raising the level to 70 per cent by next year (2010).

Babington-Ashaye noted that in spite of the policy being in place, nothing significant has changed and called for decisive action on the part of government and regulatory agencies to ensure that the initiative is not sabotaged by some foreigners.

“The local content policy of government is a well thought-out initiative designed to accelerate the involvement of Nigerians in the all important oil and gas sector. Several years after it was evolved, not much has been achieved”.

“Although, there are no statistics to validate the extent of compliance to the targets of 45 per cent in 2006 and derive towards 70 per cent by 2010, the continuous dominance by foreigners of the commanding heights of the sector bears eloquent testimony to the need for urgent action by government and regulatory bodies”, she said.

Babington-Ashaye also reflected on some of the issues that the parliament is expected to answers to, including how existing underwriters can develop the technical capacity to acess the risks inherent in the sector and how they can develop the financial capacity to underwrite such high-risk insurance business given their poor level of capitalization.

According to her, the parliament would also review the state of reinsurance business in Nigeria and how market induced consolidation in the insurance sector could be of help in this regard.