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Investors Urge NAICOM To Screen Operators’ Book

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Investors in the insurance industry have urged the regulatory authority, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) to ensure proper regulation of the industry through objective screening of the operators books of account just as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) did in the banking industry.

The investors under the aegis of Shareholders Solidarity Association of Nigeria said most problems of businesses operating in the country are caused by the regulatory authorities of various industries.

The investors speaking through Mr. Timothy Adesina, said the regulators cause the problems by certifying that all is well for the companies they regulate while in the actual sense, there are multiples of problems surrounding the companies.

They cited instance of the ailing nine banks screened by the CBN late last year and said had the apex bank not read between the lines in supervising their books investors and depositors of the banks would have been weeping by now adding that their state of health before the CBN removed their directors if allowed till date would have made them go down by now.

They, therefore, called on NAICOM to toe the line of CBN governor and save investors’ fund in the custody of insurance firms adding that this will go a long way to build the confidence of both the insuring public and investors in the industry.

But the commissioners, for insurance, Mr Fola Daniel, had earlier in an interview with newsmen said he would not repeat what the CBN governor did in the banking sector in insurance industry. He said this is because of the peculiar nature of insurance business.

Mr Daniel said rather than doing what the CBN did, he would open up windows of opportunities to be keyed in by insurance managers to expand their profit.

He also said the commission has concluded plans to introduce the Market Development and Restructuring Initiative (MDRI) which focuses on two major issues developing the market through enforcement of compulsory insurance and restructuring of the system through a review of the channels of distribution and elimination of fake insurance.

The MDRI initiative has been presented to the industry operators by the commission as a way of carrying them along. Through this initiative, NAICOM said it would ensure the enforcement of all the 13 compulsory insurance policies stipulated by the insurance act of 2003.

He said in redefining and restructuring the insurance market, the commissions should not be expected to copy the Central Bank of Nigeria in dealing with the operators.

According to him, “I know there are some people who love to celebrate the pains of others and would want NAICOM to visit the industry with the same treatment with which the CBN visited the banks recently fair or foul. They however, forget to note that the two industries are not exactly the same apart from that there are several ways of treating the same ailment and it will not be nice to mimic CBN action” the insurance commissioner stated.

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FOI Act Implementation Bothers BPST Boss

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The Director-General, Bureau of Public Service Reforms, Dr Dasuki Arabi, has expressed regrets that the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has remained very low since the law was enacted.
The BPSR boss made the observation during a workshop held on Wednesday in Abuja on the appraisal of Freedom of Information Act.
Arabi said the Act was meant to entrench transparency and openness in governance through improved compliance to annual reporting obligations of public institutions.
“It is also expected to guide and improve compliance of public institutions in proactive disclosure of mandatory publication requirements, as well as empower citizens, the right to access information held by the state.
“Regrettably, since the introduction of the FOI Act, it is evident that the level of compliance among public institutions still remains low.
“While the level of engagement by citizens still remains insignificant and in some cases fraught with misunderstanding between the State and Non-State actors,” he added.
Arabi, therefore, said that the workshop was to resolve some of the grey areas around FOI, as well as foster a harmonious relationship between the State and Non-State actors towards the implementation of the Act.
He said good governance and transparency would only thrive in the country when citizens access to Information is assured.
The DG emphasised that the FOIA provided platform for inclusiveness that sought to hold leaders to account and feed into the decision making process.
Arabi said that the Bureau had worked assiduously towards the implementation of the Act and was making efforts to ensure that it was institutionalized across the public sector.
He said that the interventions were in the areas of training public service workers and development of feedback mechanism through which a portal for application and responses for FOI request were deployed.
Others, he said, are score-card for ranking the performances of websites of public institutions using specific benchmarks, including FOI portal.
“Creating platforms for citizens engagement with Civil Societies Organizations on topical issues of government through the BPSR flagship programmes such as the monthly Lunchtime Seminar series,” he added.
Arabi said that the Bureau had also deployed information technology to provide innovative means to improve record keeping and management using intranet and Electronic Data Management Systems.
He continued that they were working in conjunction with the Nigeria Economic Summit Group to gauge the perception of citizens on public policies.
In her remarks, the National Coordinator, Open Government Partnership (OGP), Nigeria, Dr Gloria Ahmed, said making information open was a hallmark of democracy and a basic human right.
She said that the FOIA has given citizens the opportunity to access information as regards government policies and reforms.

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FCTA Harmonises Mobile Adverts, Haulage System Against Double Taxation

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The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Department of Outdoor Advertisement and Signage (DOAS), has launched the FCT/State Mobile Advertisement and Haulage permits for 2023 financial year.
Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr Olusade Adesola, while launching the system sought the cooperation of the business owners in the FCT, in order to achieve the objective of the initiative.
Adesola said the move was part of efforts to facilitate the ease of doing business drive in the nation’s capital.
He commended DOAS for the initiative. aimed at improving institutional cooperation and partnerships with the critical stakeholders.
Adesola warned: “FCTA would no longer tolerate acts of thuggery in the collection of taxes, as there are better ways of doing such, which will ensure the attainment of ease of doing business.”
He commended the leadership of Area Councils for resolving to synergise with DOAS to streamline the system.
The Permanent Secretary said the proliferation of collection authorities for mobile advertisements had led to serious loss of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the FCT.
Earlier, the Executive Chairman, Kwali Area Council, Danladi Chiya, said although Area Councils have the constitutional right to collect such advertisements, they have no issue with FCTA over the establishment and mandate of DOAS.

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LASG Begins Vehicle Parking Lanes Demacation

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The Lagos State Parking Authority (LASPA) has revealed it will today commence creating additional Vehicle Parking Lanes in some selected locations across the State.
The Authority stated that all efforts have been geared towards improving the parking system of the State.
Speaking on the planned initiative on Friday in Ikeja, the General Manager of LASPA, Mrs. Adebisi Adelabu, stated that the vehicle parking lane mark exercise, which will begin with designated streets within Surulere, Ikoyi, Lekki, Obalende, Ikeja and Victoria Island axis of the State, is a step towards improving street parking from 2023.
Adelabu noted that the Parking Lane Markings will further guide motorists and pedestrians on appropriate parking regulations and spaces, minimise indiscriminate parking, confusion and uncertainty, while conveying a range of information to residents on parking procedures within each specified environment.
According to her, the lane markings will also include special consideration for people living with disabilities and signposts for parking directives, among other features.
The General Manager, however, solicited the understanding of residents within the locations who might be affected by any inconvenience the process might cause, assuring that the government is working rigorously in regulating and improving the parking culture as part of its Traffic Management and Transportation Agenda to ensure parking is convenient, safe and secure across the state.
Recall that the Authority had recently unveiled plans to begin full implementation of parking policy in the second quarter of 2023 and has continued to sensitise the public on the need to embrace the parking culture.

By; Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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