Stakeholders Harp On Light Regulation, Strong Engagement On Financial Inclusion

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Stakeholders at the National Conference organised by the National Association of Insurance & Pension Correspondents (NAIPCO) recently in Lagos said light regulation coupled with strong advocacy among informal sector operators would make a great impact on the financial inclusion initiative.

The confab, 4th in the series which attracted eggheads from the financial subsector and operators of the informal sector of the economy, noted that the micro insurance and micro pension introduced by both the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) and the National Pension Commission (PenCom) respectively may not see the light of the day if strategic effort is not put in place to educate the publics on the need to have a buy-in.

Accordingly, experts at the event agreed that the regulatory agencies should be flexible in their regulatory framework to ensure massive participation by the target audience, while operators are tasked to develop products that would meet individual needs and proffer solution to their financial needs.

The theme of the conference which centered on “Financial Inclusion :The Micro Agenda for Insurance and Pension Sectors” was presented by Dr Pius Apere, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Achor Actuarial Services Limited, an actuarial consulting firm.

The communiqué issued at the meeting reads in part; “The stake holders who gathered at the conference from Pension, Insurance and Informal Sector Groups listened to the theme paper which centered on Financial Inclusion: The Micro Agenda for insurance and Pension Sectors, presented by Dr Pius Apere, made the following resolutions; “That the regulators for the two sectors should adopt light regulation model to drive micro pension and insurance to achieve financial inclusiveness.

While engagement, according to the communiqué, is key the two sector regulators as a matter of policy should engage informal sector operators to understand their peculiarities and needs to formulate policies that will drive their operations and break their burden of financial exclusion.

The confab also identified Trust as key ingredient, noting that “in spite of the challenges in the environment, the operators of the two sectors should build the much desired Trust and confidence that will drive the relationship with the target micro market segment, and make them see the value in the services they render to attract more contributors and insuring public into their net.

The use of technology to drive processes did not miss out of the fore as the confab recognised the presence of technology in as pivotal: “that operators and regulators of the two sectors should leverage on technology especially telcos to reach the masses with financial inclusion message to improve the level of financial literacy in Nigeria.

“Operators should give due consideration to attachment of incentives to woo and retain contributors and policy holders.

“The potentials in the market are so huge that operators should take cognisance of all the segments of the informal sector and device peculiar ways to engage them and make them sign on to financial inclusion.

“Rather than assume that the micro market segment have adequate knowledge of their products and services, they should create improved and sustained education, awareness programme that will broaden their understanding of their services and improve on their level of financial literacy”, stated in the communiqué.

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