By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The House of Representatives has called on the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) to suspend its recapitalisation programme for insurance companies in Nigeria.
The regulatory agency for underwriters in the country had asked all players in the sector to increase their capital base for over a year now. The process was to be concluded in the first half of next year, with the first phase expected to be completed by December 31, 2020.
But members of the lower chamber of the National Assembly want this policy to be suspended because, according to them, this is not the right time for it.
At the plenary on Tuesday, the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr Benjamin Kalu, argued that the country was presently going through a harsh time because of the effect of COVID-19 and a recent protest.
According to him, these led the nation into a recession and for insurance companies, their major concentration, for now, would be how to settle claims of those affected by the #EndSARS protests.
In October 2020, the nation was thrown into unrest after a peaceful agitation for an end to police brutality was hijacked by some hoodlums yet to the apprehended and prosecuted.
During the period, thugs unleashed terror on the country, burning several properties belonging to the government, private and corporate citizens.
This led to the invitation of the army to quell the protest and on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, soldiers were accused of opening fire on peaceful protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lekki.
While moving a motion seconded by Mr Olododo Cook at the green chamber yesterday, Mr Kalu said looking at these issues, NAICOM should consider suspending the recapitalisation plan for now until things are better.
The lawmaker emphasised that Nigeria cannot get the funds expected to be spent on the programme at the moment, though he said the recapitalisation was necessary.
He appealed to the government, through NAICOM, to be more sensitive to the plight of insurance companies in the country, who would want to channel the funds with them to claims from the protest.
After the deliberations, the motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the House Committee on Insurance for further insight.
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