Nigeria Deepens Islamic Financial Services

Yemisi Izuora 

The National Insurance Commission, NAICOM, is expanding its footprint in promoting Islamic Financial Services as part of efforts to improve the country’s financial inclusion initiative.

As part of the strategy, the Commission has entered into partnership in the recent past with Islamic Finance Service Board (IFSB) based in Malaysia and arranged trainings in Nigeria by bringing in expertise from yonder to train our operators and staff in the field of Islamic financial services, the Commissioner of insurance Mohammed Kari, has said.

Speaking at the 2018 National Insurance Conference with theme, Insurance 

Industry and Financial Inclusion”, Kari said the timing of the Conference could not have been more significant especially as the sector is prepared to launch the Nigerian Insurance Industry Development Plan (NIIDP) which has Financial Inclusion as one of its major components. 

Work on the NIIDP, he said, has already been concluded with inputs from KPMG, a consulting firm who will also independently monitor its implementation to ensure each segment of the market keep to date with their assigned responsibilities. 

Kari disclosed that the plan has been presented to the Insurers Committee, a body comprising management of NAICOM, CEOs of insurance companies and heads of insurance trade associations and the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) to ensure every player in the industry is carried along.

He commended the market committee and KPMG for the good job on the NIIDP pointing that financial inclusion is premised on the principles of 

equity (i.e. social cohesion and bridging the gap in income equality) and inclusive 

economic growth & development. 

According to him, It is a global objective which has different dimension since countries and institutions are wont to develop models that will best suit their peculiar environment, adding that irrespective of the jurisdiction, the general 

consensus seems to be that financial exclusion is one of the main causes of poverty 

in the world. 

“How the insurance sector in Nigeria could effectively and efficiently navigate this turn to increase the number of policyholders while reducing the figure of the financially excluded, are part of what the NIIDP contain. The strategic initiatives and implementation plans of the NIIDP notwithstanding, we have dedicated this forum to financial inclusion for an opportunity to listen to speakers and discussants with divergent views and opinions so as to improve on what we already have”, he said.

The Commissioner also said that to ensure the sector takes maximum advantage of the benefits on offer under Index Based Agricultural Insurance, IBAI, NAICOM in collaboration with the World Bank Group – the Global Index Insurance

Facility (GIIF), International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the African Reinsurance Corporation (African-Re) organised series of trainings for operators, regulators and end-users. The two of such trainings were held Abuja and Lagos already with the

representatives of Federal Ministries of Finance, Agriculture, CBN, NIRSAL, Insurers and NAICOM in attendance.

These initiatives, he noted have been supported by the liberalisation of distribution channels and the current attempt to restructure insurance service provision in Nigeria like never seen before. 

“On June 01, this year, the insurance sector kicked off a rebranding campaign aimed at creating awareness on the benefits inherent in the consumption of insurance

products. The campaign is a three (3) year project that will be delivered in phases.

We believe the industry will be able to reach Nigerians who are hitherto unreached and thus have no access to insurance in every nook and cranny of the country”, he said.

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