This is the concluding part of the publication of comments of my friends on my article, Nigeria: Gradually Enforcing Regulation, published on different platforms some weeks back. This in line with my conviction that the comments on my opinions are as crucial as the opinion pieces themselves.
Your thoughts and insights will be appreciated too: please enjoy:
Nigeria has a lot of weak institutions that are saddled with the responsibility of enforcing regulations. Unfortunately, most of these institutions have lost focus of their objectives due to lack of appropriate supervision. They help to institutionalize corruption rather than curb it. Their lackadaisical attitude towards carrying out their regulatory duties has led to the untimely demise of many companies in Nigeria.
There is an urgent need to restructure virtually all the institutions in the country. This can be done by redefining their deliverables, rekindling their mission thereby giving them a new lease of life. If these are properly done, things will naturally fall in place and the unruly behaviors which now characterize the citizenry will gradually disappear and the lost glory will be reinstalled.
Our leaders need to also lead by examples because in most cases, leadership dictates the action of the followers. A very good example was the introduction of War against Indiscipline (WAI) which led to an immediate and effective discipline among the citizens. In the same token, the citizens drifted away from the laudable achievement of WAI as soon as a change in leadership was effected.
It is my strong belief that we can have a much disciplined society if our institutions are structured in a way that allow for the enforcement of the rule of law without fear or favour.
The article is quite insightful, your opinions and concerns are understandable and until we get there, we are not there yet.
I will focus my comments on a quick general overview on the nation called ‘Nigeria’ and the fact that the damage from our non-compliant and non-enforcement of basic regulations in Nigeria cannot be overstated.
The real impact of the menace can be evaluated from economic, social and political standpoints, In fact in my view, I strongly believe that the potentials internal generated revenue (IGR) in Nigeria if all the laws are fully implemented and regulations enforced are enormous and might reduce the impulsive cry for FDI.
Just to give a rough idea that we are still way behind in this game of enforcing our laws to generate revenues and creating a better living for the people;
· We are far below the expected potential revenue when it comes to tax compliance. The tax revenue ratio to the country’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, continue to decline, often playing within 19 per cent to 12 per cent and rather worrisome is that of the 12 per cent, only 4-6 per cent is non-oil revenue. PwC rated Nigeria’s tax contribution to Gross Domestic Products, GDP, lowest in the world compared to countries like Germany where tax accounts for 45 percent of GDP, France 52 percent, Ghana 22 percent; South Africa 27 percent and Kenya 17 percent.
· Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC complained that poor packaging and labelling of goods produced in Nigeria was the reason some countries banned their importation. The question is, Are there regulations by the same NEPC ensuring the minimum standard in packaging for export purpose?
· Nigeria is losing not less than $2bn to gas flaring annually, the loss of such huge revenue due to the activities of oil companies constitutes an economic crime, This gas being flared also impacts human health that can lead to cancer, breathing difficulties etc. What does the law say about this? Could it be that there are no regulations governing these industries and the Nigeria environment in general? Why is it not being enforced?
· Nigerian Copyright Commission (Copyright Piracy)
In western world, copyright and related rights are today perceived as instruments for development, as well as providing a secured and stable environment for creative activities. piracy constitutes a serious threat to the sustenance of creative industries and discourage the spirit of innovation. The economic, social and political damages is enormous and un-quantifiable. It was recorded in 2014 that for software piracy alone, Nigeria loses N82 billion yearly which ultimately translate to loss of jobs and loss of significant revenues in taxes to the government.
Ultimately, we need to start from somewhere, probably the home, the family. Enforcement of basic fundamental principles and morals in the family will prevent the many anarchies both political and economic we have in Nigeria today. The family which we regard as the smallest unit in a society has stopped producing entrepreneurs and great leaders but rather street hawkers ,terrorist and greedy statesmen. This is largely due to the lack of enforcement of basic morals and failed responsibilities of a unit of a society which also is being headed in most cases by the father.
Then we have our organizations where mediocrity is the order of the day. (story for another day). There are uncountable reasons for this in our business world today and they can all be traced to the fact that people explored for selfish reasons. When such avenues has been largely accepted and considered a norm, it can then be concluded as an element or a factor contributing to our deteriorating economy.
There is need for a lot of education (orientation) on the concept of law, regulation, code of conducts, etc.
For me I think there is something wrong with our laws, when we compare with our society.
First make it unattractive to break the law, let people/organizations have no reason to break the law. Most times people/organizations are not afraid of consequences of breaking the law because they have no choice but break it.
We should get to a point where we can say “NO” and be sure that we’ll lose nothing.
Secondly in a bid to enforce the law, lets the appropriate authority be fair.
Thirdly when you break the law we should ensure you can’t go away with it.
For me, the article calls for retrospect and self-reflection. Nigeria as a nation is made up of states, which are made up of local governments, which are made up of communities, down to families and then individuals. Our individual attitudes to everything in life is a reflection of the values we grew up with from childhood . What are our individual principles and core values?
As you rightly highlighted, there are enough laws in the land to guide our actions; if only the individuals that should enforce the laws as well as the citizenry who should abide by the laws will demonstrate the right morals and do the right thing without waiting for some law enforcement agent to chase us around.
I appreciate every contributor so far. I look forward to further discourses.