The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has stated that the role,of an effective regulatory regime in promoting economic growth and development is not simply dependent on the technical design of the most appropriate regulatory instruments, it also concerned with the quality of supporting regulatory institutions, capacity of their personnel and the nature of their practices.

Speaking Sunday at the 9th Annual Business Law Conference dinner organized by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) held at Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos, Prof. Osinbajo said “as more and more investor/citizens turn to the markets to help secure their future, pay for homes, and pay for their children’s education, investor protection is now more compelling than ever before”, stressing that “the natural inclinations of private markets, left to their own devices, may not promote economic or social justice”.

In his address titled “The Regulator, Marketplace, Justice and Economic Growth”,  Vice President Osinbajo stated that as most people regard Government as the protector, government in response has enacted variety of laws which are designed to ensure that consumers and the general public are treated fairly by businesses. He stated further that “While our securities legislation provides a basis for competition and antitrust provisions to prevent companies from combining to create monopolies and oligopolies, we do not yet have a composite competition legislation that tackles market abuses such as price-fixing, abuse of dominant positions, etc holistically.”

Osinbajo adduced that as new threat to the welfare of the citizens emerge, government can use the regulatory framework to lesson the serious risks associated with such phenomena as economic depression, environmental pollution, lack of health insurance, retirement insecurity, terrorism, bank failures, and investment fraud.

He noted that in order to arrest the risk and harm the economic depression and other associated factors may exert on the citizens, the APC as a party “developed a manifesto in large part to manage and minimize these kinds of serious risks to the well-being of Nigerians”.  He urged Nigerians to “act collectively to try to manage these risks” as government will simplify the regulatory environment to ensure that the perceived costs associated with regulations are avoided.

Earlier, the Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association section on Business Law,  Mr. Asue Ighodalo, said the theme for this year’s conference was Regulators as Catalysts for Economic Growth. He highlighted that the Section on Business Law Conference (SBL) is headed by a distinguished legal practitioner and since it’s inception in 2004, the SBL. International Law Conference has served as a primary professional event for corporate and commercial lawyers, emerging huge investors, regulators and members of the Bench.

In his remark, the President of Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Augustine Alegeh, while congratulating the Vice President, asked him to bring his wealth of experience as a lawyer of repute to bear in the governance. He also urged the NBA as a body to fight quacks in the profession.  

In his keynote address, the Guest Speaker and Minister for Trade and Industry of Ghana, Dr. Spio-Garbrah, also congratulated Nigerians on the peaceful elections, saying that West Africa and indeed Africa has perfected its democratic  development. And Nigeria is a reference point.  He noted that Nigeria has done well in regulating particularly by the Central Bank and his country is benefitting from it as she is also regulating its own banking sector.

Spio-Garbrah regretted that since after independence over fifty years ago, Africa still remains a dark continent without electric power. He was however,  optimistic that with the regulating agencies and reformation in the PHCN, there is hope of progress in the power sector in Nigeria..  He noted the importance of the passage of the Petroleum Industrial Bill (PIB).

In a related development, Vice President Osinbajo also attended the Apapa family annual conference of the Redeem Christian Church of God at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos, where he addressed a large crowd of Christians and emphasized that at every level of service faithfulness should be employed as it drives the wind of  change and development, stressing that “if you are a typist, a driver, messenger or any work you may do, be faithful with it so that you can rise tomorrow.”

Mfon Udott
Office of the Vice President