Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State on Thursday in Lagos charged insurance companies to provide affordable, accessible and specially designed policies for the Nano, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (NMSMEs).
Sanwo-Olu gave the advice at a one-day sensitisation workshop on insurance organised by the National Insurance Commision ( NAICOM) for NMSMEs.
Sanwo-Olu, represented by the Lagos State Commisioner for Finance , Dr Rabiu Olowo, said that policies meant for the NMSMEs must be affordable, accessible and designed to meet their needs and peculiarities.
“Such insurance policies must be affordable and free of technicalities, so that they can be easily understood with reasonable assurance of prompt settlement of claims,” he said.
According to him, supporting small businesses and creating opportunities for businesses to thrive will increase productivity and boost the economy.
The governor said that this was paramount, following the global recognition of NMSMEs as a major contributor to the economy.
“We cannot afford to ignore the challenges confronting the NMSMEs, especially, those that threaten their survival and success.
“NMSMEs in Nigeria make up the vast majority of enterprise and contributes up-to 80 per cent of the Nation’s GDP and 80 per cent of employment .
” It is worthy to note, that Nigeria has greater number of NMSMEs than the United States of America and that is the driving force of our economy ” he said.
Sanwo-Olu lauded NAICOM for organising the sensitisation workshop, saying that it was aimed at addressing critical issues that affect NMSMEs in Nigeria and by extension the growth of our economy.
He advised small business owners in Lagos to embrace insurance as a safety measure against losses that might be suffered as a result of unforseen circumstances.
“It is imperative to acknowledge the laudable financial and technical supports provided to business owners and aspiring enterprenuers by the state through the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund and other initiatives .
“The sustainability and anticipated gains of these initiatives cannot be fully gauranteed without safety against unforseen circumstances.
“I urge you to take advantage of this opportunity of the workshop to express your concern and seek clarification on any aspect you do not understand, ,” he said .
The Commisioner for Insurance, Mr Sunday Thomas, in his address said that over 300 business owners attended the workshop due to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic and adherence to the social distancing protocols.
Thomas said while NMSMEs had contributed about 48 per cent to the National Gross Domestic Products, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, whatever gains or progress made can be faulted in the face of man-made or natural disasters, if insurance is not adopted .
“There is the need for a deliberate risk management plan through insurance that will give confidence when there is crisis or mishap .
“Insurance is that product you buy when you think you do not need but may be too late to buy when you need it , ” he said.
The commisioner lauded the present and past administrations of Lagos State for demonstrating consistent commitment to sustaining NMSMEs through commendable special initiatives and state intervention programmes.
In his remark, Mr Darlignton Nwokocha, the Chairman, Committee for Insurance and Actuarial Matters at the National Assembly, commended the Lagos State Government for setting the pace among other states.
Nwokocha also lauded NAICOM for organising the workshop and noted that it would assist to deepen insurance penetration and provide a platform for the acceptance of the expected Insurance Act.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that several business owners that participated in the workshop took turns to advise the insurers to redesign their policies to suit the present challenges of the NMSMEs. (NAN)