Vice Chairman Senate Committee on Banking,Insurance and Other Financial Institutions and Chief Whip of the 9th Senate , Senator Orji Uzor Kalu has charged the nation’s financial and insurance institutions  on service delivery.

Kalu, who co-chaired the Senate committee’s meetings led by Senator Uba Sani (Kaduna Central) , held intensive interactive sessions with the country’s Monetary, Insurance and  other related institutions which include: The Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company Limited (NSPMC), The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) , Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Bank of Agriculture (BOA),  Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN).

A larger chunk of the interactions of the concerned institutions centred  on briefing the Senate committee on their activities , challenges and responses on pertinent national issues bothering on economic growth , finance and insurance.

Kalu, in his remarks called for proper auditing of the institutions. He made the call as Abbas Umar Masanawa, Managing Director of the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting company (NSPMC) appeared before the Senate Committee.

The Abia North Senator also charged the NSPMC to see itself not as a Government parastatal but a company in order to align it’s business orientation towards diversification and profit making.

Kalu said ;“You need to realise that you are a company not just a parastatal. You must therefore see yourself as a company with dual identity.The NSPMC must see itself as a full private company to inorder to make improved profits. From what you have told us, we would like to know if you made profit last year? We are also interested in  knowing if you were audited by KPMG, PWC, DELOITTE or any other reputable firm or you just assumed with your internal accountants that the 14.6 Billion Naira you informed us about is all profit?” 

Kalu enquired.In his response, Abbas Umar told the committee that the NSPMC made a profit of 14.6 Billion in 2018  while turnover grew from 17.8 Billion in 2014 to 61.4 Billion in 2018. 

The state of the nation’s Airline industry came into discuss as Senator Kalu lamented the high cost of Airline operation in the country, he expressed his concern over the long list of agencies and their financial demands from airline operators. He made this assertion during the briefing of the Managing Director of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Ahmed Kuru before the Senate Committee.

He said ; ” You can’t cut corners, because airline operation  is denominated in dollars. If an Aircraft for example is due for a ‘B’ check (Aircraft Maintenance) there is no other option than going for the check, whether the operator is making profit or not . When it comes to Airline operation  it is difficult to maintain because various regulators come up with different requirements and all these requirements attract costs. The denomination of charges within the local airports is not commensurate with the pricing of the airline”

“The most important is the pricing, if you want to pay the right price the Airline industry  will boom but because you are not paying the right price everything is denominated in dollars.

Years ago in this county, an airline had 14 aircraft on the ground there were  737/400 and someone woke up one morning and cancelled and withdrew their license of the Airline just because one aircraft is purported to have committed an offence,  this is why people are afraid of going into airline transportation business”

“The major problem, Kalu continued; is the cost of operation and it is very high.  There is NEMA, NCIA, FAAN, etc and all these agencies demand money from the operators.  So how would they survive? it’s not going to be possible and it’s not going to be easy. We cannot operate that way. Every six weeks an airline operator is mandated to check the aircraft for maintenance and they must pay  because they can’t play with people’s lives and the captain is a human being too. If the aircraft is in bad condition they will refuse to fly; including the co-pilot and attendants. 

So the major problem of the industry is cost and not even the operators. An Airline like  Air Peace is not finding it easy to manage their business. Another major issue is the transparency among the entire industry, there is no transparency.

Kuru in his response  said the National Assembly must reform the aviation sector by reducing the different layers of charges by different agencies, which makes it extremely difficult for airlines to survive in the country.

He pointed out  that Arik Airline had enough aircraft and facilities that can be used to set up a new airline.

The insurance sector was not left out as the Chief Whip questioned the  efforts of the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), at regulating and sanctioning insurance companies that renegade in paying it’s holders involved in accidents and other unfortunate incidents.

Kalu said ; “people that engage in insurance of vehicles, houses and so on don’t get compensation by  some of these big insurance companies when they have damages. How are you as a regulatory body, protecting the concern of these people? I have seen people who after they had accidents the insurance companies were not able to do anything. They were totally jettisoned despite the fact that  they paid premiums . When you have an insurance and you are involved in fire or water accidents or otherwise they are not interested in coming to your aid. People end up paying premium without getting anything during unfortunate incidents . How is your organization protecting the over 200 million Nigerians most of who after using their hard earned money in  paying premiums get nothing when they have problems?

Acting Managing Director of NAICOM Mr Thomas Sunday who had appeared before the Senate Committee spoke of  the challenges faced by the insurance regulator, saying that limited powers in existing laws were responsible for “arm twisting” the Commission from carrying out its enforcement and distress management duties of defaulting insurance companies.

He appealed to the 9th Assembly through the Committee to pass a pending insurance executive bill into law in order to support the performance of the industry.

Godwin Emiefile , Governor of the nation’s Apex Monetary Institution was not left out of the report rendering  session as Dr. Kalu commended the economic intervention efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Boss. Senator Kalu urged the Godwin not to relent in fine tuning and introducing policies aimed at boosting the nation’s economy. 

Earlier in his opening remark  Godwin, described the 9th Senate as partners in progress, in what he described as a shared and joined responsibility to work together towards the development of the banking and insurance system in Nigeria.

He said ” we are very clear in saying that we are partners in progress. Partners in the sense that we have the  shared and joint responsibility to work together towards the development of the banking and insurance system in Nigeria and indeed the financial system in Nigeria.  

Other Directors who presented themselves before the Senate committee include:

Kabiru Mohammed, Managing Director Bank of Agriculture (BOA), Umaru Ibrahim;   Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Abba Bello Managing Director Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM),Adekunle AbdulRazaq Oyinloye Managing Director  The Infrastructure Bank PLC and Tony Okpanachi Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN).

Also present at the meeting were other members of the committee; which include: Senators ; Betty Apiafi (Rivers West), Muhammad Adamu Aliero (Kebbi Central ) , Oyelola Yisa Ashiru (Kwara South), Onyewuchi Francis Ezenwa (Imo East) , Opeyemi Bamidele (Ekiti Central ) and others.