Agbakoba Wants Policy on Development Law

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Olisa Agbakoba

Martins Ifijeh

A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), has stated that the Nigerian government can pull its 200 million population out of poverty if it adopts the concept of development law.

He said development law is a public policy tool that intersects law and economic development.

In a statement issued yesterday, Agbakoba said Nigeria was in a parlous state with Gross Domestic Product at 1.9 per cent, while population continues to explode past 200 million, adding that this debt overhang may strangulate the country.

He said: “So, to turn this around, it is commendable that the federal government has empaneled an Economic Advisory Council of proven experts.

“My recommendation is that the federal government should adopt the Keynesian expansionary fiscal policy in order to achieve and sustain double-digit growth of at least 10 per cent over 10 years to pull at least 200 million Nigerians out of poverty. But the magic wand that can achieve this feat is the concept of development law.

“Development law scholars agree that there is a strong linkage between law, regulatory institutions, governance, economic development and national welfare. It is argued that the Nigerian legal and judicial framework is hopelessly outdated and needs an urgent review to meet current challenges. Yet governments generally fail to notice the links between legal policy, economic development, governance, and institutions.”

He said a sound nation depends on vital legal institutional, regulatory and governance frameworks, adding that the links unfortunately between legal institutions, political economy and development have often, and in the Nigerian case, been completely overlooked or missed, hence under-development.

Agbakoba said: “If development law is applied as a public policy tool in the following areas, for example, financial services sector, national trade policy, maritime, aviation and space, legal and justice sector, land administration, corruption, social security administration, among others. It will transform the economy, create millions of jobs and pull 200 million Nigerians out of poverty.”

He called on the federal government to “organise new streams of revenue around a transformed financial services sector; new lean and empowered CBN with strong rules restricting banking to lending and not trading; new trade policy and legislation on trade remedies which will make Nigeria a centre of production and not dumping, full enhancement of maritime and aviation resources by strengthening cabotage legislations and a new Fly Nigeria Act.”