The outgoing Chairman of the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA), Eddie Efekoha, has said that the consolidation agenda initiated in 2017 as part of his team’s strategies to grow the insurance industry resulted in the refund of about N1 billion in form of excess taxes collected from insurance companies nationwide.
Efekoha said that the funds were sequel to discussions with the fiscal authorities, including the Federal Ministry of Finance and Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS, to address the country’s tax regime.
He hinted that the leadership of the association had also reached some level of understanding with the leadership of FIRS to reduce the friction between them and some members of the association.
Specifically, he explained that the target of the association was to seek amendment of the tax laws to avoid the incidence of multiple taxation, which had been impacting negatively on insurance companies’ operations and profitability over the years.
Efekoha, who made this disclosure during a media briefing on the achievements recorded during his tenure as the Chairman of the association in Lagos, said that the refund from multiple taxation had been helpful in the association’s Secretariat project with a projected cost of N1.5 billion.
While commending the members on their contributions towards the project, he said: “When we did the 2007 consolidation exercise, we were made to pay so much of tax without the opportunity of questioning how this tax liability was arrived at. Members felt that we have been short changed. So we engaged solicitors to help us intervene with the tax authority.
“In 2017, during my tenure, the industry got a refund of almost N1 billion from the tax paid during the consolidation exercise. So, what we agreed is that, at that point, the building committee has gotten approval from the council to approve a basis of contribution towards funding this project.
“Initially, we thought that N1 billion will be enough to complete this project and therefore we will levy ourselves 50 percent and get the other 50 percent from loans. As members, we agreed that we should remit some of the refund as our levy.
“For instance, if my levy is N5 million and I was refunded N10 million, we agreed that N5 million should go to the project and then, the remaining N5 million should be given to me. That was how we successfully raised this compulsory levy. That we have N500 million to start the building, I think we have cross the difficult phase. I commend members for their cooperation”, Efekoha added.
On insurance rebranding initiative, the NIA boss noted that members we fully committed to the agenda and expressed optimism that the rebranding will help improve the insurance industry as it is not going to focus on one particular company, but the industry generally.
Reflecting on the various stakeholders’ engagements during his tenure, Efekoha said that the association engaged with the NAICOM in several ways, either from the corporate governance end or from the market development end, or even from the policyholder protection end.
He also listed the National Assembly as another stakeholder that was engaged with as in the past two years some of the bills proposed by members of the industry were taken to the Legislature for consideration.
“We have a bill on the principles of insurance and how insurance should be conducted. We have not be able to retrieve some of the bills we have lost, but at least our market share and products have not been taken away from us in the last two years”, Efekoha recalled
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