IDRA lies hamstrung with top posts vacant

Dhaka,  Fri,  18 August 2017
Published : 08 Jul 2017, 22:35:20
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IDRA lies hamstrung with top posts vacant

Vital economic sector suffers as its board cannot convene, puts major decisions on backburner
Jasim Uddin Haroon  

Country's insurance regulator lies hamstrung with appointments to its key posts, including chairman, pending for three months.

The vacuum has left major decisions regarding this major financial sector stalled.

Sources said making some major decisions required for facilitating and streamlining this vital financial sector is an imperative.

But, for lack of personnel in the top posts, the Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (IDRA) cannot convene its board meetings and take such major decisions in policyholders and insurers' interest.

The post of chairman remained vacant for over three months after the expiry of the tenure of M Shefaque Ahmed on April 06.

After the tenure of the chairman was over, the regulator could not hold any board meeting for lack of quorum which requires at least three members, including the chairman. Currently, the board has only two members, including chairman-in-charge.

The IDRA board, as per law, consists of five members including chairman.

When contacted, Md Eunusur Rahman, secretary at the Financial Institutions Divisions (FID), told the FE that the procedure of appointing chairman is in progress.

"We cannot tell any tentative time about the appointment of chairman but it is under process..," he said.

Mr Rahman also said his division has recommended a name for IDRA member.

"The Ministry of Public Administration is yet to approve it," the secretary added.

One Amal Kumar Saha, recommended by the division as a member for the IDRA, remained in the process of getting approval  for over the past two months.

The IDRA board usually considers proposals from insurance firms on major activities like purchase of property, appointment of auditors and initial public offerings (IPOs) and major claim settlement.

The watchdog organisation is now doing simply routine work.

Contacted over the dilemmas, Gokul Chand Das, a former additional secretary at the Financial Institutions Division (FID), now working as chairman-in-charge of the IDRA, told the FE that they cannot organise any board meeting simply for want of quorum.

They have been just performing routine work.

He also said inspection works -- vitally needed for guiding the sector that deals with huge sums of money -- also now stood stalled.

Earlier, the IDRA used to inspect different office to check whether their rules being complied with or not.

The watchdog teams mainly used to visit non-life firms to see whether they were complying with the directive relating to 15 per cent commission, fixed by the IDRA sometime in 2012.

In the meantime, the regulatory body that oversees country's 77 life and non-life insurance companies has also yet to take any initiative over recruitment of its own manpower as per the government-approved organogram.

The organogram provides for appointment of 155 officials, including four executive directors and seven directors.

But, the division posted two joint secretaries and three deputy secretaries on deputation to the posts of executive director and director.

However, one joint secretary again got transferred to another organisation, keeping one joint secretary as executive director.

And two deputy secretaries who were posted as director to the organisation were also transferred to another organisation, keeping one deputy secretary as director for the IDRA.

The government formed the IDRA, replacing the then department of insurance, in 2011 under provision of the Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority Act.

M Shefaque Ahmed was appointed its first chairman and he had served two consecutive terms. During his tenure, 97 board meetings were held for the development of the industry, people at the IDRA said.

jasimharoon@yahoo.com
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