By Franklin Alli
A private sector coalition has identified lack of competition law and policies as major impediments to development of commerce and industry in Nigeria, putting the economy under severe hurt. Consequently, a coalition of private sector organisations have called on the National Assembly to urgently work on a pending bill for the necessary legislation and regulation to be in place.
Vanguard learnt that the coalition, supported by the Nigerian Employers Consultative Association, NECA and operating under the umbrella of Enhancing Nigerian Advocacy for a Better Business Environment, ENABLE, comprises Consumers Empowerment Organisation of Nigeria, CEON, Quintessential Business Women Association, QBWA, CUTS International, among other key Business Membership Organisation, MBOs, in the country.
Speaking ahead of the Public Hearing on the Bill scheduled to hold on 31, May 2016 at the National Assembly in Abuja, Mr. Leonard Ugbajah, the Technical Adviser to the Coalition, said that Nigeria requires a robust competition law to regulate the market to ensure a win-win for both consumers and producers in the country.
“Nigeria has no competition law at present and previous efforts made by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and other interested parties to get the competition Bill passed into law did not succeed,” he lamented.
In view of its benefits, he stressed that it is imperative that the Bill should be given priority attention by the lawmakers. “Although the Bill has passed the second reading in the House of Representatives, it does not give any room for cheers as some previous attempts to pass this Bill was abandoned,” he stated.
He recalled that Nigeria began the process of getting a competition legislation 16 years ago. A draft policy was produced by the Bureau of Public Enterprises and two separate Bills were drafted by the BPE and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. However, none of these saw the light of day. Successive administrations and sessions of National Assembly have taken steps to enact a competition law but the efforts were never seen to completion.
“The immediate past administration drafted a policy document and a Bill on competition and Consumer Protection; while the policy document was never presented to the Federal Executive Council, FEC, for consideration, the Bill was approved by FEC and transmitted to the National Assembly for enactment.”