Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, on Monday called for extensive public information and sensitization campaign on the ECOWAS Brown Card Insurance Scheme to help citizens understand the need for it.
In addition, the ECOWAS Commission should include the insurance sector in its priority action programmes and also strengthen the partnership between the scheme and other similar integration institutions.
Dr Osei was speaking at the opening of the 25th annual session of Council of Bureaux of ECOWAS Brown Card Insurance Scheme in Accra on the theme: “ECOWAS Brown Card Insurance Scheme: 25 years of Facilitating the Free Movement of Persons, Goods and Services for Regional Integration.”
The scheme launched some 26 years ago is international motor vehicle third party liability insurance with the objectives of ensuring a fair and prompt compensation to victims of motor accidents.
It is also to facilitate the settlement of compensation to motorists from ECOWAS sub-region after the occurrence of motor accidents.
The idea is to promote the free movement of people, goods and services in the sub-region, and guarantee fair and prompt compensation for damages sustained as a result of accidents and through this encourage the development of trade and exchange of tourists between West African nations.
However, the implementation of the scheme had been dogged by delays in paying insurance claims to users of the Cards.
Currently, an estimated seven million dollars of claims had remained unpaid to victims.
Dr Osei said there was the need to embark on the harmonization of the compensation limits in respect of victims of motor accidents within the sub-region and called on the national bureaux to ensure that member states enforced the protocol governing the scheme for prompt settlement and payment of compensation to victims of international road accidents.
Mr Tony Elumelu, Head of ECOWAS Immigration, who stood in for Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, said the protocol on the free movement of people was not making the desired impact on the lives of the citizens because of non-implementation of decisions.
Mr Larry Jiagge, Chairman, Ghana National Bureaux, asked member states to adopt the harmonized document on compensation for damages for road traffic accidents, as well as strengthen the resources of the institutions of the scheme so as to ensure effective and efficient fulfilment of its mission.
The Accra meeting will address the issue of outstanding claims between the various nations as part of the process of actualizing the ideals that led to the brown card protocol.