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Job security: Govt cautioned on foreign regulatory policies

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Nigeria’s regulatory agencies have been advised against copying of foreign laws without considering their local peculiarities.
Director, Research and Advocacy, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Vincent Nwani, gave the charge, yesterday, in a lecture he delivered at the breakfast policy dialogue in Lagos.

The event organised by the Initiative for Public policy Analysis (IPPA), had the theme: “Moving from regulation to policy action: The Challenge.”
Nwani, who acknowledged that regulations and policies are critical to shaping environments and societies, however counseled that they should be in the interest of the public.
Citing example with the tobacco industry, he said: The objective of any regulatory policy is to ensure that regulation works effectively and is in public interest.

For highly regulated products, such as tobacco industry, a fair balance has to be made to all areas involved in public interest, that is, those who consume the products and those that don’t.

“Sovereignty also plays a critical role as regulations take different shapes dependent on various factors such as capacity, economy, infrastructure, funding, among others. The role of regulations for products and services is always critical to the success of any economy. That means foreign laws should not be copied into Nigeria without considering the local peculiarities.”
Decrying Nigeria as one of the most insecure places of doing business, the LCCI director, whose lecture was entitled: “Regulations undoing diversification of economy,” maintained that each economy has a right to protect jobs and livelihoods it provides to its citizenry.

“Tobacco industry employs lots of Nigerians and in economic sense those employed have dependents. Therefore, frustrating legal tobacco producers in Nigeria will be to the advantage of illicit traders, who take advantage of the unintended consequences to perpetrate their illegal act. In this circumstance, the regulators would totally lose control,” he said.

He also advised that policies and laws should always be implemented before the consideration of new ones. According to him, “laws have to be tested, evaluated, gaps identified and addressed before new policies/laws are introduced. We should not just adopt the guideline provided by other developed economies, which have different challenges and gaps.”

He added that undue influence by lobbyists and non-governmental organisations, who have insufficient experience in managing governmental affairs needs to be managed accordingly.
He said while they have a role to play as possible conscience of the society, some of them are plagued with corruption that makes them vehicles to further the interests of others through the source of their funding.

A lawyer, Mr. Jiti Ogunye, who spoke on “Lawmaking and execution in Nigeria: The roles of the private sector,” advised the organised private sector (OPS) to develop interest in the business of lawmaking rather than to continue to bemoan that regulations are killing businesses in Nigeria.

“Businesses should develop interest in governance and learn how to lobby legislators to stop anti-people laws and policies. They should also show interest in governance and the leadership selection process,” he said.

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