By Clement Nwoji
Abuja — With barely three working days left to the end of the 2016 business year, confusion continues to trail the Federal Government’s inability to renew the Group Life insurance coverage for its federal civil servants and insurance of its assets nationwide.
This indicates that recession and lack of funds has caught up with the Group life insurance and assets insurance renewal, which may be carried over to 2017.
This implies that by next year, at least N100.8 billion would be required for the Group life insurance coverage and premiums payment alone for the two consecutive years of 2016 and 2017.
The Group life insurance and government assets insurance expired since August 2016. Already, the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) had given certificate of no objection to 20 insurance companies to participate in the current renewal exercise.
Enquiry by The Guardian from the Office of Head of Civil Service of the Federation, through the Permanent Secretary (Common Services Office), Yemi Adelakun, who oversees federal government insurances were rebuffed.
Also, a text message to him requesting for an update, particularly if the requested sum of over N5.4 billion needed for the renewal of the Group Life insurance had been released by the Ministry of Finance, was not replied and calls to him were also rejected.
Furthermore, enquiry from the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, through her Special Assistant on Media, Festus Akanbi, was not responded to, as he did not give any reply in respect of whether or not the N5.4 billion requested for Group Life Insurance renewal had been released.
However, dependable top official in the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), the apex regulatory body of insurance companies operating in Nigeria as well as the adviser to the Federal Government on insurance matters, told The Guardian in confidence that nothing had happened.
He said from the returns of insurance companies, there was no indication on the consummation of renewal agreement between the government and any insurance company.
“We only know about final consummation of renewal agreement of Group life insurance coverage between the government and insurance firms when the participating companies forward their returns to us. But for now, we have not seen such item in the returns at our disposal. I think you can cross check that from the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation. We have done our part of giving them the list of licensed insurance companies,” the source explained.
The Permanent Secretary (Common Services Office), Yemi Adelakun, had in an exclusive interview in early November, 2016, told The Guardian that request for the release of over N5.4 billion had been made to the Minister of Finance.
He dismissed projection that the government had no money due to the present recession, saying: “It is usually N5.4 billion annually for civil servants Group life insurance. That’s the figure and that had been recurring for the last three or four years.
“We have written to the Ministry of Finance and they have not said that they don’t have the money. I believe that the government is very much interested in the welfare of the civil servants and it also know the cost of non-insuring civil servants will be in case there are deaths, that you still have to pay. And you pay more if you don’t cover.”