An economic expert, Mr Leonard Ugbajah, has said that the non passage of the Competition Bill was a contributory factor to the non-emergence of new businesses in the country.
Ugbajah, the Technical Adviser to the Private Sector Coalition on the enactment of Competition Bill, said this at a media forum in Abuja on Wednesday.
Competition law is a legal framework to promote or maintain market competition by regulating anti-competitive conduct by companies.
It is otherwise known as anti-trust law and anti-monopoly law in other jurisdictions.
The major aim of competition law is to ensure a deep supply market for consumer goods and services.
Ugbajah said that the absence of a competition law in the country was preventing willing investors to invest in different sectors of the economy.
This, he said, was also resulting in the limited nature of job opportunities in the country, adding that the absence of the law had deterred many job creators from developing businesses.
“It means new businesses cannot grow in that sector; if new businesses don’t grow people will not be employed.”
He said that the absence of competition in some sectors of the economy had also resulted to a situation where Nigerians paid more for the prices of goods and services.
Ugbaja said that the enactment of the law would help to stop price fixing and reduce the exploitative activities of cabals in some strategic sectors of the economy.
He also said that the non passing of the bill would make it impossible to sanction business people involved in price fixing.
According to him, the coalition has made some creative inputs in the proposed Bill.
This, he said, was to ensure that the interest of all stakeholders were considered.
“One of the critical inputs in that Bill we have looked at is the provision in the bill that talks about the power of the President to regulate prices.
“ We have looked at it the way it is proposed; it is contradicting.
“We are proposing that and have consulted widely and everybody has agreed that that provision is not necessary because some of the things that provision of the Bill wants to achieve has been taken care of in some other aspects.
“Another important area where we spent a great deal of time considering is the relationship between the newly-proposed commission that will emanate from the law and the existing sector regulations.
“These are regulators that have regulatory power over one sector and the other and there are also competition issues and consumer protection issues and concerns in those sectors.
“So how do we ensure that by coming into force of this new law, we don’t have multiple layers of regulation that would work against the interest of doing business with ease.“
He said that the coalition had also recommended mechanism for resolving conflict, to eliminate areas of conflict among the regulators.
According to him, the Bill which is receiving a priority attention in the National Assembly, would soon be presented for public hearing.
He said that the coalition was determined to ensure that the Bill was passed before the end of first quarter of 2017, noting that Nigeria was ripe for consumer protection law.