Daily Trust (Abuja)

31 December 2012

Nigeria: Traders Seek Stricter Laws On Business Insurances

The National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) has appealed to the federal government to design stricter laws that would force shopping mall owners and traders to insure their property and businesses.

The group said this has become necessary due to the increase in fire outbreaks in markets across the country in recent times.

"An economically traumatized nation like Nigeria can no longer watch her local investments smoke away in inferno as has remained the case for long," president of the association, Barrister Ken Ukouha, said in a statement.

"Just a few days ago, it was Karu International Market in the FCT, Abuja and on December 27, it was Jankara market in Lagos," he said.

The statement also said, "we call on government to as a matter of urgency design and propel a legislation that makes it mandatory for all current and potential market structures, malls and business premises across the country to be fully insured against fire occurrences."

While commiserating with the families of those that lost their lives and those that lost their goods, the association further appealed to state governments to consider ways of giving compensation to traders who lost their wares in market infernos.

The statement further said: "Goods and property worth several millions of naira have been lost by the traders while investments running into billions also perish in such inferno.

"NANTS is aware that amidst the struggle for survival, many of our traders who are victims of the market fires had borrowed funds from banks and other financial institutions and lenders to embark on their various business activities especially during this festive period. And now, while they are alive, they do have heaps of debts hanging almost forever on their necks."

The group also appealed to financial institutions to consider the impact of mounted pressure of repayment on them, saying "we strongly decry the near absence of compensation mechanisms that could have reduced the burden of these losses."

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