Buhari tasks insurance firms on innovation, diversification

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged insurance firms in Nigeria to take advantage of the Federal Government’s efforts to facilitate the growth of the non-oil sector of the economy through innovation, commending their role in encouraging medical practitioners to tackle the spread of COVID-19.
Speaking in Abuja, yesterday, at a virtual opening ceremony of the 47th African Insurance Organization (AIO) Conference and yearly general assembly, the President said the insurance sector will play a vital role in the diversification of the economy by bringing “necessary stability, economic sustainability, revenue generation, job creation, and financial inclusiveness.”

“There is a great future for the insurance industry in Africa. We only need to put the right mechanism in place for it to thrive. I assure you that this administration has and will continue to support Insurance growth in Nigeria and Africa at large.

“I commend the leadership of the AIO for the resilience, foresight, and perseverance in ensuring that the African insurance market strives to meet its expectations in the global market, notwithstanding the prevailing challenges,” he said.

President Buhari said the theme of the conference, “Rebuilding Africa’s Economy: An Insurance Perspective”, was apt and well thought out to respond to the reality of the moment as many governments try to devise ingenious ways to manage their economy in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic has indeed changed many perspectives and has forced leaders across the globe to think hard for remedies.

“I want to assure you that we in Nigeria are doing everything humanly possible to ensure a coordinated approach to the pandemic and reaching out to other African leaders on possible best options to fully revive the African economy in which I strongly believe the Insurance industry has a vital role to play,” he said.

The President noted that the COVID-19 pandemic presented a global challenge that led to the lockdown of many countries, travel restrictions, and issuance of many health protocols, affecting all human, social and economic interactions that made hosting of the Conference impossible in 2020.

President Buhari commended the Organizing Committee for putting the conference together, adding that the sub-topics were critical in helping Nigeria and Africa rebuild.

The Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said the foresight of the founders of the AIO deserved commendation as it had fostered African integration agenda and how best to collectively address shortcomings.

Ahmed further urged the insurance sector to design their products around the needs of the society, especially for low-income earners, noting that a greater impact on development would only be possible by looking at the African peculiarity.

The President of AIO, Mrs Delphine Traore, who is also the Chief Operations Officer, Alliance Africa, said the conference was last held in Nigeria in the year 2000, assuring that innovation in the sector would help in complementing government efforts in development.