BUUMBA CHIMBULU writes@SunZambian
PLAYERS in the insurance industry must develop a custom of excellence and ensure the provision of quality work, Finance Minister, Bwalya Ng’andu has said, emphasizing that excellence and strength worked hand in hand.
“I am told there are 35 insuring brokers companies. If 20 of you decide to come together, you will have a string insuring firm. It will give you more capital and the little companies you are trying to cling on to will go away.“I am throwing this to you as a challenge, please let us change the way we think as Zambians and behind to think as serious business people. We are not going to go anywhere with these small little companies that we run,” he said.This minister said this during the 2020 Insurance Awards ceremony in Chongwe recently.Pensions and Insurance Authority (PIA) acting Registrar, Tresford Chiyavula said the awards recognised the hardworking players in the insurance sector. Mr Chiyavula said the most deserving winners were picked for the awards.“Seize the opportunity and ensure all we can to drive the industry to better heights. Winners should strive to do better and not to be reluctant,” he said.Insurers Association of Zambia (IAZ) president, Christabel Banda, stressed the need for the insurance industry to show now more than ever during the Covid-19 its relevance as risk management experts.Ms Banda said this could be done by continuing to provide and in some cases revise some of the insurance products on offer to help people save and invest for troubled times, and respond to misfortunes when they occurredMeanwhile, the Finance Minister has disclosed that the default on debt repayment is not the end of the world because Government is still negotiating with the bondholders.Dr Ng’andu said the decision by bondholders to reject Government’s request for a six months debt standstill did not meant it was the end of the world for Zambia.Government missed payment of US$42.5 million coupon on one of its dollar denominated sovereign bonds last week on Friday.Dr Ng’andu said however that Government was still negating with the bondholders.“When we say we have defaulted, it does not mean the world has come to an end, we are still talking and we are sure at some point we will be able to get some reasonable response,” he said.Dr Ng’andu stressed that paying bondholders after requesting for a debt standstill would have affected Zambia’s credibility.“Bondholders voted against our request for debt service standstill but that does not mean the world has come to an end. At that point we had to think, do we pay or not. So we found ourselves in a dilemma.
“If we approached you with an idea on condition that the fiscal space is very bad and you are not able to service your obligation and then at the same time around and pay, your credibility will be questioned. It mean you are lying, you are not telling the truth,” he said.