HOS Warns Against Bids Padding by Insurance Firms

The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mr. Stephen Oronsaye, has told insurance companies bidding to participate in the implementation of the Federal Government Group Life Insurance Scheme for public officers to ensure that they submit realistic bids that are not padded for payment of bribery and gratifications to any government official.

Speaking through the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth Development and Chairman of the Special Committee set up to oversee the bidding , Barrister Danladi Kifasi, the new process, he said, has been instituted to make the exercise transparent, corruption-free and also get the best bargain from the operators for the Federal Government.

Explaining the process for the choice of the Underwriters, Mr. Kifasi who is also a chartered accountant said that it began with the call for prequalification which resulted in the short listing of the seventeen companies who presented commercial bids. He explained further that a committee comprising four Federal Permanent Secretaries is overseeing the bidding process and is being technically assisted by a consortium of Insurance Brokers who are also observing the process in order to ensure transparency. He said that the final stage of the bidding process is when it goes to the Bureau of Public Procurement for endorsement.

On the issue of prompt payment of premium, the Chairman said that the Head of Service has put into motion a process that will ensure payment before the end of January 2010. This gesture, he said, is expected to be a strong factor in favour of government in bargaining for the rates payable.

In his remarks, Chairman of the Consortium of Brokers, Mr. Amos Adeyeye, expressed delight at the openness of the process which he said is unprecedented in their dealings with the public sector. He said that the arrangements being made to pay premium as early as January, if implemented would be a landmark in the history of insurance business in Nigeria. He urged the bidding companies to put into consideration these new factors being introduced and strike a deal that will strengthen the laudable Scheme and also be of benefit to the sector.

At the end of the opening of the submitted bids all the seventeen participating companies agreed on the need to make further consultations and update their submissions in view of the new information gathered on the implementation of the Scheme.

The Group Life Assurance Scheme is a provision in the 2004 National Pension Act. It was effectively flagged off in the Federal Public Service in 2008 and was put under the supervision of the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation. In the current dispensation, insurance companies are being contracted centrally for the implementation of the Scheme in the Federal Public Service, the Paramilitary and Military Services.
 

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