Push for domestic marine cover in East Africa

Permanent secretaries of the Ministries of Transport and Trade in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia met last week in Mombasa where they directed that Intergovernmental Standing Committee on Shipping (ISCOS) spearhead the Marine Cargo Insurance initiative in all the member states.

ISCOS was formed by the four states in 1967 to perform various functions on their behalf such as negotiation on freight rates.

“The policy directive from ISCOS’ coordination committee gives it impetus to drive to on-shore MCI in the region. The projected savings and retention of hard currency in ISCOS member states’ economies runs into several hundred million dollars every year for the region,” said Kenneth Mwige ISCOS secretary general.

According to ISCOS, Burundi, Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi and Zambia, exported insurance premiums on marine worth $4.89bn between 2009 and 2013.

“Almost $5 billion in only one electoral cycle donated by warm, kind and generous Africans to appreciative, graceful and eternally friendly foreigners,” said Mr Mwige.

According to Uganda’s Insurance Act 2011, all exporters and importers are required to procure marine insurance with local companies, but various agencies, particularly the Insurance Regulatory Authority and Uganda Revenue Authority have not been aggressive in enforcing this law, claimed Mr Mwige.

There is no restriction on a country to enact laws to protect its domestic insurance industry.