The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has called on insurance practitioners to be professionals to the core.
Mr. Fola Daniel, the commissioner for insurance (CFI) who made this assertion noted that insurers’ words must be their bonds.
On the Market Development and Research Initiative (MDRI) being pursued by NAICOM, Daniel stated that if insurance operators must propel the people to insure under the compulsory insurance programme, then underwriters must not under any guise fail to meet genuine claim settlement, rather their word must be their bond.
In his words, “The relevance of ethics and integrity to insurance business cannot be over emphasised. Where they exist, it breeds trusts, confidence and creates a boost in business generation.”
“The non-existence of these virtues amongst some practioners has helped in giving the industry a negative image. We cannot continue in this path any longer. There must be a change of attitude and behavior amongst practitioners. We cannot continue to do the same thing all the time and expect a different a different result.”
He noted that in all of these, operators must key in to discipline and professionalism as the Nigerian populace are looking up to insurance industry as an important bastion of security in the face of collapse being witnessed in other financial services sector, “we must not be a harbinger of corruption and improper dealings.”
“For those who will continue to relate as if anything and everything is possible, let me warn that Naicom will deal decisively with aberration and will also collaborate actively with other regulatory and security agencies to curb market misbehaviour,” Daniel reiterated.
Naicom has warned that under the current reforms taking place in the insurance industry, it would no longer condone a situation where the managing director of an underwriting company has on the sideline a private broking firm as well as a loss adjusting firm.
“This is unethical and it should not be encouraged. There are cases of chief executive officer of an underwriting firm having a broking firm, giving businesses to the company where he is CEO, yet there are issues of outstanding premiums. This will soon be a thing of the past”.
Mr. Sunday Thomas, Naicom director, in charge of inspection who made this notion said in most cases, the success of the managing director’s privately owned companies depend largely on at least 80 per cent of his time and energy. He said this was clearly a case of conflict of interest and divided loyalty and it is unethical.
Henceforth, he said, any managing director that must own a broking firm or loss adjusting firm would be compelled to disclose this to the board of directors of the company where is CEO so that if there are issues of outstanding premiums arising from such broking firm, the board would be able to knew the source of their problem.
He said this is a major source of unethical practice and should therefore not be encouraged.
Other observed unethical practices, he said, include inadequate rating, withholding of premium/commission, claims falsification, deliberate creation of information gap between the management and board as well as falsification of returns to the regulator.
Mr. Thomas said, by the time the commission was through with the reform in the industry, all of these would belong to history books.
He said with nine months gone in the year, not up to half of insurance companies operating in the country have submitted their 2008 financial result to the commission. “This is because they find it convenient to pay the paltry fine of N5,000 per day for as long as the result is delayed,” he said.
Under the current reform, he revealed, the fine would be made very stiff. He said it could be as high as N100,00 per day and the deadline for filing the result could be made shorter. He, therefore, advised all operators to sit up so as not to be caught on the wrong side of the law.
DAPPMAN Raises Concern Over FG’s New Tax Regime
The Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) has expressed concern over the new 0.5 per cent tax on gross turnover of the petroleum marketing firms proposed by the Federal Government.
Executive Secretary, DAPPMAN, Mr Olufemi Adewole, said at the maiden edition of the Platforms Africa Continental Forum in Lagos, that the tax would put many firms out of business.
Adewole said there were indications that fuel distribution crisis may soon hit the country, if the government implemented the new tax regime.
He was emphatic that more than half of the fuel marketing firms in Nigeria would close down, if the tax burden was slammed on them.
According to him, the imminent closure of businesses poses threat to the smooth distribution of petroleum products across the country.
“The petroleum marketing firms’ trading margin is too small that they cannot pay such amount sustainably.
“Petroleum marketers operate a very low margin but the turnover is very huge. Unfortunately the margin does not correspond with the turnover,” said Adewole.
He added that the margins they made when fuel sold at N40 per litre was the same when the price rose to N160 per litre and N200 per litre respectively.
According to him, “The Finance Act 2020 says the marketers have to pay 0.5 per cent from their gross turnover by the end of this year.
“It is unimaginable that probably half of the petroleum marketing firms existing now may go under, if the new tax regime is implemented.
“Except the regulator which is Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) approves a new margin for the marketers.”
He said the association had called on government to give petroleum marketers access to foreign exchange at the official Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) rate to enhance the supply and distribution of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) across the nation this yuletide season.
According to DAPPMAN, shortage of foreign exchange (forex) coupled with several unauthorised levies, bad roads are among the factors making fuel importation and distribution burdensome for members.
The Tide source reports that the fuel marketers recently bemoaned the acute scarcity of forex in the official market, which is currently threatening the importation, distribution and impacting deeply on prices of petroleum products across the country.
Niger Wants NNPCL To Establish Truck Transit Parks
Niger State Government has urged the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd. (NNPCL) to establish truck transit parks in some strategic parts of the state to reduce traffic on highways.
The government identified towns such as Tafa, Suleja, Mokwa, Bida, Tegina, Lambata and Minna as major areas to be given attention in that regard.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mineral Resources in Niger State, Alhaji Abubakar Idris, made the call during the meeting of National Council on Hydrocarbons organised by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources in collaboration with the State Government.
According to him, the establishment of the parks in the identified areas will reduce traffic on highways and generate revenue for the state and country at large.
In the meeting entitled: “Roadmap and Strategic Option towards achieving energy transition in Nigeria”, Idris presented a memorandum from the State Government to the council on the need for the establishment of the transit parks.
He explained that it would also create a partnership between the state and federal government to reduce the negative effects of heavy road traffic on highways.
He explained further that the trucking industry was indispensable to the Nigerian economy as “truckers are responsible for delivering fuel from depots to filling stations where they are dispensed.
“For these reasons, funds need to be released to build truck parks for ease of operations”, he said.
He also called for the establishment of a frontier basin development commission with its headquarters in Niger State.
According to him, the establishment of the commission will expedite the effective implementation of Petroleum Host Community Trust Fund and frontier basin exploration fund as captured in the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 with headquarters in Niger.
He said Nigeria’s frontier basins consist of Anambra basin, the lower, middle and upper Benue trough, the South eastern sector of the Chad basin, the Mid-Niger (Bida) basin and Sokoto basin.
According to him, the basins would be better positioned for the opportunities in the hydrocarbons natural gas, oil and other minerals.
He noted that the establishment of frontier basin development commission would offer greater opportunities to actualise the state dream of oil and gas economic value-chain and industrialisation in Nigerian frontier basins.
Motorists Groan Over Fuel Scarcity
Long queues resurfaced in Lagos as motorists spent hours at filling stations to buy Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol.
The situation was worse on Ikorodu Road, Maryland, Ikeja, Anthony, Bariga, Ilupeju and Gbagada areas as motorists were agitated for spending hours on queues.
The Tide source reports that the development left commuters stranded with gridlocks in major areas of Lagos as motorists queued to buy the product.
The source also reports that only filling stations owned by Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) had petrol and sell at the regulated price of N170 per litre.
Some stations owned by Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) sell between N200 and N210 respectively.
A motorist, who identified himself as Mr Foluso Saliu, told the source that he had been on the queue since 6.30 a.m. hoping to get fuel and return to work.
He said government should find a lasting solution to petrol supply in Lagos to avoid panic-buying.
“Scarcity has been frequent during the ember months and l hope it will be addressed,” he said.
Another motorist, Mr Julius Albert, urged filling stations to avoid selling petrol in jerry cans to allow vehicles to buy on time.
Albert appealed to the government to fully deregulate the downstream sector of the petroleum industry if that was the solution to availability of petrol without stress.
According to him, the product seems to be available in some filling stations but they choose to hoard it and sell at higher prices.
Queues were seen at Mobil, NNPC, Conoil, Oando and Nipco filling stations on Ikorodu Road.
Also, queues were cited at TotalEnergies, TMAAC on Bank Anthony Road and Conoil, opposite LASUTH.
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