The search for tools to deepening insurance penetration has continued to attract the intelligent contribution of experts. This is not unexpected considering that almost a decade after insurance was first introduced into Nigeria its growth rate is still far below 5 percent. Even traditional areas of strength such as motor vehicle insurance are still enveloped in crisis. In the past months, many experts have brain stormed on the way forward. However one recent contribution which stakeholders have advocated for is Islamic insurance, otherwise known as Takaful insurance. The concept of Takaful insurance is not very popular in Nigeria. This is not strange as even the conventional insurance is still struggling for recognition.. Takaful insurance is a form of insurance which is deemed permissible for muslims under the sharia law. The major difference between it and the conventional insurance is the restrictions it places on investments and its enlarged flexibility on capital formation.
In countries with large concentration of muslims such as Nigeria, conventional insurance operates but their services are mainly limited to commercial needs and that of elite members of the society.
According to Dr. Mike Ikupolati, Head of Mission, West African Insurance Institute, while presenting a paper on the issue, he expressed sadness that insurance penetration is still very low even in many I slamic countries. The reasons for this low penetration have to do with muslims’ belief that “conventional insurance policies contain elements that are contradictory to islamic principles, namely uncertainty (Gharar) gambling (Maisir) and interest (Riba) (Sigma 2001).”
However, insurance is not entirely new to islam as historical records have it that it existed “since the early secured century of the islamic era when muslim Arabs expanding trade into Asia mutually agreed to contribute to a fund to cover mishaps or robberies along the numerous sea voyages”.
He explained that according to works done by notable scholars like fisher in 1999, Yusof, 1999 and Shakir, also in 1999, insurance in Islam is allowed but it has to be based on the “principles of mutuality and cooperation and encompasses the elements of shared responsibility, joint indemnity, common interest and solidarity.”
The insurance expert reiterated that islamic insurance is also one credible form of alleviating poverty, especially when viewed against the backdrop of muslims’ population put conservatively at 23percent of the total world population. Of this number, he said, over half of the population is Asia and Africa. He stressed that in Africa, for instance, muslims account for about 47percent of the population whereas in Asia, muslim population is put at 27percent, 7percent in Europe and 2 percent in North America.
Corroborating the works of the Islamic scholars, Ikupolati identified poverty as one of the greatest impediments to expected insurance growth level. Interestingly, the work of Sabbir Patel in 2002 revealed that muslims around the world are faced with low-income levels. Mr. Fidel Agbokona, chairman, Akofad Consulting Group agreed that at the present low level of insurance in Nigeria, all measures must be taken to deepen insurance penetration. He asked Nigerians to embrace Islamic insurance irrespective of religious inclination, if it is capable of moving the industry forward. He regretted that while a lot could be gained by some insurance products like this insurance awareness is still unbelievably poor in Nigeria.
Arising from this, Nigerians are said to also lack access to social security systems, health care, education, sanitation and employment opportunities. He expressed dismay that there is “growing inadequate infrastructures in Nigeria as in other islamic countries including the rich Arab nations, due to the increasing population and wave of cheap immigrant labour” This unfortunate situation, he said, calls for some risk protection mechanism in order to lower the vulnerability of the muslim population and the society at large.
The history of Takaful insurance could be traced to Sudan where the first Tafaful Insurance Company of Sudan was established in 1979.
Presently, there are over 100 Takaful Insurance companies scattered around the world. Also, there are a number of conventional insurance companies who have created reasonable grounds for islamic insurance. In Nigeria, for instance, one of such insurers is UnityKapital Insurance Company which has strengthened its service-delivery in Islamic insurance alongside its conventional insurance business. There are indications that some insurance companies are bracing up to extend their services to include Islamic insurance.
Since Takaful may be useful in cushioning the effect of the middle and working class and assisting in the event of a large loss, micro-takaful’ is therefore desirable to bring service-delivery to the grassroots.
“Takaful insurance can assist in achieving greater equality and empowerment of the poor by protecting them against unforeseen losses and giving them the courage to improve their productivity and livelihood through access to education, healthy care and employment.” Ikupolati said.
NCC, Digital Encode Support NITRA Innovative Tech Forum On Post-COVID-19 Strategies
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria’s telecommunications regulator and Digital Encode, Cybersecurity and Compliance advisory company, have indicated interest to partner with the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA), the national umbrella body of ICT reporters, as it organizes a forum that will x-ray the industry’s future plans for ICT growth post pandemic era.
The event, slated to hold on October 15, 2020, will seek to discuss the needs for a fortified ICT sector after the COVID-19 era, and the level of preparedness of ICT stakeholders to embrace the challenge of being pivotal to the stability and growth of all other sectors.
A statement from NITRA National Secretariat in Lagos indicates that due to the pandemic and need to observe the COVID-19 protocol on social distancing, the event will be held via a Webinar.
This year’s theme, “Multi-stakeholder Approach To National Recovery Post-Pandemic”, is in line with the annual event’s generic theme, ‘NITRA Innovative Tech Forum’, a contribution by NITRA to the development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) innovations and policies in Nigeria.
Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman, NCC is expected to deliver the keynote speech at the event and will throw more light on Federal Government’s plans, programmes and policies on post-pandemic strategies using ICT.
Dr. Adewale Obadare and Dr. Seyi Akindeinde, founders of Digital Encode, while accepting to support the event expressed their readiness to offer their expertise in Cybersecurity for organisations to prepare against cyber- attacks with the new normal.
They will also highlight areas that are high risks that need fortification in terms of cybersecurity.
Speaking on the event, Mr. Chike Onwuegbuchi, national chairman, NITRA, noted that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to leave its negative trails across the globe, economic reboot for countries will not only depend on how well they readapt to the new normal, but also more on their recovery plans.
According to him: “While the federal government has consistently expressed its willingness to set all policies in place to engender growth, and accelerated implementation of these policies, private sector firms have also shown great hunger for the task ahead in post-COVID-19 era.
However, the question that needs to be answered is whether all stakeholders are ready for the required task ahead.”
The event will also offer participating companies opportunities to publicize some of their individual efforts at contributing to reacting a soft landing or lifeline for SMEs and other ancillary companies as the pandemic threatens their survival.
Digital Encode is a multi-award winning and leading consulting and integration firm that specializes in the design, management, and security of business-critical networks, telecommunications environments and other Information Technology (IT) infrastructures.
NCC Threatens Illegal Users of GSM Boosters with Arrest, Prosecution
Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has warned telecom consumers to desist from using illegal GSM boosters.
The commission also said that anyone caught using a GSM booster without obtaining approval of a duly licensed network operator will face arrest and prosecution.
GSM boosters are devices that transmit and receive telecommunications signals and can therefore interfere with other radio frequency equipment.
Ikechukwu Adinde, director, public affairs, NCC, said in a notice published on NCC website, that only licensed network operators are allowed to use GSM boosters.
The booster, also known as amplifier or repeater is made up of three main elements – exterior antenna, amplifier, and interior antenna.
They form a wireless system to boost cellular reception
“Members of the public should note that, willful interference with any wireless telegraphy is an offence under Section 16 of the Telegraphy Act, 2004,”it said
The agency said it will not condone any flagrant breach of this law.
It has also enforced measures to prosecute offenders.
Accordingly, monitoring mechanisms have been put in place and anyone caught using a GSM booster without obtaining approval of a duly licensed network operator will face arrest and prosecution.
“Any member of the public with useful information regarding the illegal use of GSM Boosters should contact the Commission on 09-4617000/7351 or send an email to [email protected],” the notice said.
“Individuals desirous of using GSM Boosters should note that they can only do so in conjunction with licensed network operators,” it added.
Tizeti Selects Nokia to Provide LTE Fixed Wireless Access Solution for High-Speed internet Services in Nigeria
Tizeti announced that it selected Nokia’s Fastmile Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology to enable usprovide superior internet services to over 1 Million subscribers in Port Harcourt, Edo and Ogun in Nigeria.
Tizeti will deploy Nokia’s AirScale Base Station TDD-LTE and FastmileFixed Wireless Access (FWA) gatewaysto deliver premium internet and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services to Residential, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
The solution will also enable Tizeti’sto deliver a more robust, high-speedinternet service to subscribers and the flexibility to seamlessly evolve to 5G Fixed Wireless Access when needed.
Nokia’s FWA solution enables Tizeti to fast-track broadband access and provide a best-in-class broadband experience to its subscribers.
Nokia’sAirScale Base Stations ensure high-quality connectivity and coverage and enablesTizeti to evolve the network in line with customer demand.
Nokia’sFastmilegateways connect wirelessly to the existing network to createa fastbroadband connection and enhanced Wi-Fi experience in the home.
The Nokia Network Services Platform will help Tizeti to simplify operations and quickly respond to changing market demands.
Kendall Ananyi, Tizeti, said:“We are committed to providing the best-in-class network experience to our subscribers. We are confident that Nokia’s proven technology and expertise will help us differentiate our services based on quality. This a crucial project for us as it introduces LTE in our networks and allows us to bring new and innovative services to our subscribers.”
Eniola Balogun, Nokia, said:“We are thrilled to work with Tizeti on the initiative to upgrade their network to bring the latest products and services to its subscribers. Nokia Fastmile will help Tizeti to cost-effectively enhance the customer experience.
The project will also enable them to delight their subscribers by providing more reliable data services.
On the other hand, Tizeti will benefit by adding new revenue streams.”
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