Stakeholders in the insurance industry  have urged government to streamline taxes levied on practitioners for the development of the sector.

The stakeholders spoke at a one-day seminar organised by Leadway Assurance in conjunction with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in Lagos on Monday.

They urged the government through Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to streamline the taxes levied on insurance companies.

The seminar was organised to examine taxation matters within the insurance value chain.

They said the gesture would enable the industry to play its mitigating roles effectively.

Leadway Assurance Executive Director (General Insurance), Miss Adetola Adegbayi, said the insurance industry suffered from a complex tax structure.

Adegbayi, who was one of the panelists, said the industry suffered multiple taxation without understanding the complexity of insurance concept.

“Example is the deduction of withholding tax from “re-insurance commission” as such “commissions” are not earnings, but a reserve against reinsurance credit risk” for premium liabilities passed through the books of the insurer” she explained.

“Brokers, agents, insurers and re-insurers pay different taxes, that principally come from the premium paid by one entity, that is” the insured,’’ she explained.

Adegbayi added that unless stakeholders come together to collate the entire structure of the tax burden in insurance value chain, multiple taxation would continue to pose a threat to the well-being of the industry.

Similarly, Mr Taiwo Oyedele, West Africa Tax Leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers, urged the government to support the insurance industry by reviewing specific tax regimes that concerned the sector.

According to him, the industry is saddled with the mitigation of the nation’s risks and should not also be burdened with uncalled-for taxes.

“The growth rate of crime in the society has paved way to increased claims, bad roads often lead to accidents with increased claims.

“In the same way, poor health care increased death rate, thereby pushing claims up,’’ he said.

The Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Babatunde Fowler, acknowledged the concerns raised and called for a yearly tax interactive session with the insurance industry to help address all tax related concerns beleaguering the industry.

The FIRS boss, represented by the South-West, Regional Coordinator of the service, Mrs Toluwalase Akpomedaye, said such sessions would help foster understanding with other sectors of the economy.

She assured stakeholders that the FIRS would work with the industry to ensure growth and development.

He stressed that all the tax concerns expressed by operators in the industry were presently being looked into.

He further charged operators in the industry to support the government by paying all necessary taxes, adding that the economy needed taxes to thrive.

President, Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB), Mr Shola Tinubu, supported the call for an annual tax session in the industry.

He pledged to take the message to the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) and the Institute of Loss Adjusters of Nigeria (ILAN).

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