The Commissioner for Insurance/CEO, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Olorundare Sunday Thomas, has expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari, His vice Professor Osinbajo, and other top government officials for identifying with the insurance industry in Nigeria and Africa, saying that the insurance sector in Nigeria and Africa will leverage on the counsel and support of the leadership to up its game and take it’s rightful place as an instrument of intermediation.
He said “ It is with all honour and humility I stand before you this evening after what I believe to be a successful completion of the 47th African Insurance Organisation Conference and General Assembly and also to witness the investiture of Mr. Tope Smart as the newly elected President of African Insurance Organisation. I must sincerely express my gratitude to God for the successful hosting of this Conference.
Your Excellencies, the Nigerian insurance industry is still basking in the euphoria of the presence and the message of support of His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR at this year’s AIO. The reason being the very first time that any Nigerian President or Head of State will personally attend any program of the insurance sector in Nigeria. We are not taking this for granted and we remain grateful to His Excellency.
It is also of great joy for me and the Nigerian insurance market to have His Excellency, the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Professor Oluyemi Oluleke Osinbajo SAN, GCON grace the Gala night of the 47th AIO Conference. Your excellency, we remain grateful.
The presence at the 47th AIO Conference of the leadership of our nation including the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Dr. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed and now at this Dinner the Executive Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu SAN is an indication of a new dawn in the insurance sector in Nigeria. The insurance sector in Nigeria and Africa will leverage the counsel and support of the leadership to up its game and take its rightful place as an instrument of intermediation.
I want to use this medium to congratulate as well thank the out-going President of the AIO, entire Executive Committee and the Management for their stewardship, steadfast commitment piloting the affairs of the organisation in what can be said to be the most trying moments of this decade and indeed for giving us the opportunity to showcase our potentials to the African insurance market and beyond. On behalf of all Nigerians, we must tell you we are grateful and we are proud of the outings.
The founding fathers of the AIO had a very thoughtful foresight by making sure we have this forum that has over these years had achieved tremendous success in harmonizing the African insurance markets and bringing together experts of different insurance faculties annually to discuss burning issues affecting the continent and the rest of the world. I believe the outcome of all our deliberations in the last few days will go a long way in helping us thrive higher in achieving our goals and objectives.
I want to say to the incoming President Mr. Tope Smart that the journey ahead may not be all smooth especially due to aftermath effect of the COVID19 pandemic and the shapes of our economies across Africa presently. There is huge task ahead of you and your team, but working with you over the years gives me high confidence that you are equal to the task and I can vouch for your hard work, resilience, foresight and determination. I am sure we are all going to be proud of your tenure in the AIO. We will give the organisation necessary support it requires as we have always done and in return we expect that Nigeria as a member is going to reap all benefits of its membership in the organization in line with the new strategic objectives of the AIO.
It is worthy to say that the African insurance market is in dare need of serious collaboration and synergy now than in other time in the past as we rightly agreed here that we must look inward if truly we want to make an impact. Time has passed that we rely on foreign or international support from the west and other super powers as the world at large is overwhelmed by so many issues. Developing the insurance markets across Africa is no longer a choice but a necessity. Not only in Nigeria that there is huge growth potential in insurance but is over Africa that we can unite and develop insurance business there is a lot our governments will get economically.
The signing of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) has provided an avenue to foster unity and integration within the Africa region. It provides an avenue for achievement of a common market for goods and services; guaranteeing free movement of human resources, investment and technology. But let me charge the new leadership of the AIO to cap it by vigorously persuade the governments across the continent to play their roles in providing the necessary support, creating an enabling environment for insurance activities to flourish, continued lifting of border barriers making movement of resources almost impossible, promote healthy competitions amongst member states and promoting knowledge sharing across the continent among other objectives that will make insurance business thrive within the African markets.
Let me charge the new leadership that by the year 2022 the AIO will celebrate its Golden Jubilee (50 years) being established in 1972 which means you can also write your achievements in gold for coming on board at this critical time. We expect to see great stride and landmark achievements when your tenure is over and the baton will change hands.