Stakeholders seek reform of policies on private sector regulation

Odebunmi Dokun


Participants at a forum in Lagos yesterday urged government at all levels to encourage investment in the economy by not regulating businesses out of existence.At the breakfast dialogue organized by the Initiative for Public Policy Analysis (IPPA) in Ikeja GRA, the stakeholders dissected the various laws for regulating the private sector in the country and concluded that the operators are being made to carry too much burden.

The event, with the theme “Moving from Regulation to Policy Action: the challenge” was attended by the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Information, Odebunmi Dokun, represented by Yinka Ajibolu; Executive Director of IPPA, Mr. Ayodele Thompson, lawmakers, business owners, lawyers, health and media professionals, among others.

In his presentation titled ‘Regulations Undoing Diversification of Economy”, the Director of Research and Advocacy, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr. Vincent Nwani exposed the gathering to the many elements affecting the nation’s business environment, pointing out the issues and how they negatively impact the industry.

Among them are multiplicity of regulations, taxes and reforms; insecurity; inefficient and ineffective regulatory bodies; and lack of sanctity of contracts. F A United Kingdom-based health economist, Dr. Damilola Olajide who spoke on “Balancing Regulations Vs Product Health Hazards; case for tobacco use in Nigeria” observed that available data on tobacco use in the country do not support an overly regulated industry.

According to him, the current level of regulations seems more of doing the dictates of the World Health Organisation (WHO) than what is required locally. To him, overly regulation will deprive manufacturers of their responsibility to the society, such as funding cancer research in health institutions and schemes designed to check excessive smoking. “Effectiveness of tobacco regulation is largely dependent on addressing complementary health behaviour, including consumption of alcohol,” he said.

Olajide, who argued that the Nigerian tobacco industry is already comprehensively regulated, craved policies that will pay attention to inequalities in the smoking-related diseases, especially targeting poor segments where prevalence is relatively high, and complementary interventions targeting other unhealthy behaviour, such as alcohol consumption. He urged policy makers to make effective use of the tax revenues for more interventions such as smoking national cessation services.

According to him, the government should evolve policies that will encourage self-regulation by manufacturers, by way of reducing the nicotine content of the products to drastically check addiction.In his presentation, Mr Jiti Ogunye, urged business owners to be interested in governance with a view to ensuring that bad laws do not exist.



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