State urges insurance companies to have interest in development projects
By JIMMY CHIBUYE
GOVERNMENT has urged insurance companies in the country to take interest in development projects being implemented for the sector to participate in the development process of the nation.
Ministry of Finance permanent secretary for budget and economic affairs Pamela Chibonga said insurance companies should not wait for Government to call on them but should willingly participate in development projects.
Ms Chibonga said this over the weekend when she officiated at the Insurance Association of Zambia (IAZ) gala dinner in Lusaka.
“Players in the insurance industry, you should make sure that you take an interest in all development projects Government is undertaking to ensure that you participate, instead of waiting for Government to come to you,” she said.
Ms Chibonga said Government wants to work with insurance companies to push the development agenda forward.
She said Government is aware of the challenges insurance companies face but that it operates an open- door policy and urged IAZ and the Pensions and Insurance Authority to engage Government to foster development.
Ms Chibonga said Government appreciates the role insurance companies play in the Zambian economy, adding that the contribution of over KR1.4 billion (K1.4 trillion) to the country’s 2012 gross domestic product is not a mean achievement.
She said the social and economic benefits which insurance provides make the industry uniquely placed to assist Government in ensuring that Zambians’ quality of life is improved.
Ms Chibonga said insurance companies can assist in bridging the gap where Government falls short in the provision of various social services.
“We, however, believe more can be done by the industry, to ensure that a lot more Zambians access insurance. I have been reliably informed that the insurance penetration levels in this country are among the lowest in the region.
“This situation is not ideal given the social and economic benefits that accrue to society in general when penetration levels of insurance are meaningful,” she said.
Ms Chibonga also urged insurance companies to take advantage of the small and medium enterprises by providing tailor-made insurance products that respond to the needs of the sector.
She further urged insurance companies to invest in the development of technical skills for the industry to maintain its services at high standard.
Earlier, IAZ president Shipango Muteto appealed to Government to consider completely exempting insurance services from value added tax (VAT) or introduce an insurance levy which will be easy to administer.
Mr Muteto said the administration of VAT has been complex because of the high debtors position which insurance companies find themselves in.
PIA board chairperson Chabuka Kawesha urged the association to work with Government in fostering development in the country.
Article source: http://www.daily-mail.co.zm/?p=4406