10 business operators rounded up for failure

Officials from NIC inspecting insurance certificate at a shop in Accra

Officials from NIC inspecting insurance certificate at a shop in Accra

About 10 business operators in some private commercial properties at Achimota and Dome in Accra were arrested yesterday for failing to have the buildings insured against fire and other disasters.


The arrest was done by the National Insurance Commission (NIC) National Taskforce to enforce compliance of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) Certificate and the Compulsory National Insurance Certificate for commercial buildings.


The affected businesses included Hombase Ventures, Judalco Limited, ST. Kem Pharmacy, Samasanko, Sofaamy Company Limited, C&G House, Perez Energy, Finest Gift and More, ELS Place, Hanisa Medical Support Services, and Citydia Supermarket, among others.


The business operators were taken to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service for their caution statements.


Those which had complied with earlier directives by the taskforce including Atala Limited and Aqua Professionals, were allowed to continue with the day’s activities.


Chairman of the Taskforce and Head of Marketing, NIC, Joseph Bentor, addressing the media during the exercise, said the Insurance Act, 2006 requires that all private commercial buildings were issued with compulsory insurance against fire, collapse, and other disasters.


“Compulsory commercial building insurance is just like the car insurance. Without it, the Police will chase after you and compel you to do it. That’s exactly what we are doing, to ensure that there’s high compliance of the Insurance Act,” he stated.


Since the inception of the law in 2006, the Taskforce Chairman noted that property owners and occupants were sensitised on the requirements of the new provisions.


Over the past months, he said the national taskforce engaged the occupants to explain to them the importance of the compulsory insurance and issued a deadline for all to comply with the law.


Mr Bentor stated that yesterday’s exercise, which would last until Friday, was “our social responsibility as NIC towards the owners and users of the private commercial buildings to ensure their safety and protection of assets.


So far, similar exercises, he said, have been held at Cape Coast, Takoradi and Kumasi adding that it would be extended to other regions from January.


He dismissed criticism that closure of the businesses using the uninsured commercial building would have been an effective mode of enforcement rather than the arrest of the operators.


“Our focus is not to stop business activities from going on. We prefer that all owners and occupants comply with the law. The exercise today is for us to compel the users and owners of the buildings to get the insurance. We will talk to them and get a statement from them so they act on it,” Mr. Bentor added.


Some of the victims expressed anger at the manner they were arrested by the taskforce and called on the NIC National Taskforce to adopt a new procedure to enforce the law.


“I agree with the NIC National Taskforce with the work they’re doing. It is for our own benefit. But I suggest they use a different approach in enforcing the law. Arresting us like criminals is embarrassing. They can lock up the stores in the particular building which is non-compliant and no one can have complaints about it,”Isaac Berchie, Manager of Homebase Ventures told the Ghanaian Times.

By Claude Nyarko Adams


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