Some stakeholders in the Finance and Trade sector have called for the speedy passage of the competition bill before the National Assembly to ensure conducive business environment and increased investment in the country.
They made the call at the 2018 World Competition Day organised by the Centre for Trade and Business Environment Advocacy (CTBA) and the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) on Wednesday in Abuja.
The theme of the event is “ Digital Economy, Innovation and Competition and Consumer Protection Bill.’’
According to Mr Leonard Ugbajah, the Executive Director, CTBA the bill has made the most progress following concerted efforts of the various stakeholders.
“The bill was passed by the two chambers and transmitted to the President for assent but was returned due to some observations.
“We hope that a dialogue of this nature will go a long way in renewing the political commitment to eventual conclusion of the legislative process of enacting a competition law for Nigeria.
“The Federal Competition bill and the Consumer Protection bill makes provisions for addressing abuse of dominant market power.
“It addresses anti-competitive agreements involving two or more firms as well as regulation of mergers to ensure that competition is not stifled.’’
The Director-General, Consumer Protection Council, Mr Babatunde Irukera in his remarks said: “having competition legislation is good and right now we have the opportunity of doing so’’.
The President, ACCI, Mr Adetokunbo Kayode, said the country needed a vibrant regulatory framework with a clear role to encourage investors to do business with us.
Kayode, represented by Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, the Vice President ICT, ACCI also urged stakeholders to support the government by helping it to design some relevant policies.
“We must advocate this, we must encourage legislation, we must encourage the government to do the right thing.’’
According to the president, the theme of the event is apt, relevant to this age, for the new world and especially for Nigeria where we have competitive age in the sector.
He further urged the government to ensure digital education, and take advantage of what was happening in the globe as without this, the country would be retarded in terms of economic development.
Also speaking, Mr Shola Adesoye, the Managing Director, Adesoye Construct, pledged his support to any policy that would drive competition in the country.
The Head of Trade and Economic Section, European Union, Mr Filippo Amato, also stressed the need for a competition law in Nigeria to help the country’s development.
Amato said competition law was crucial not only to the country but to investors and consumers alike.
According to him, investors will not come into the country if they are not sure of the future of their business and all the risk associated in cases where there is no favourable law.
Mr Richard Ough, Head of Economic Development Team, DFID Nigeria, said the strength of Nigeria lies in its entrepreneurial creative people.
According to him, digital economy is important for Nigeria such that if we get it right, it will be transformational for the country.
“Digital economy is crucial because the challenges in the economy can become business opportunity and traditional binding strength.
“Nigeria’s regulatory environment is seen as unclear and inconsistent and this poses a great challenge in business.
“The perception of this kills job creating environment as investors and companies are not able to cope and rather invest in countries with conducive environments.
“ Regulation is important, and we need that in place that is in the nation’s best interest. It should have clear roles, impartial treatment of companies, and interest of allowing innovation to flourish in the country,’’ Ough said.