DEVELOPMENT LAW POLICY IS THE MISSING MAGIC WAND TO TRANSFORM THE NIGERIAN ECONOMY, CREATE JOBS AND PULL 200 MILLION NIGERIANS OUT OF POVERTY

Nigeria is in a parlous state. GDP is a miserly 1.9%, population exploding past 200 million; debt overhang may strangulate the country. So to turn this around, it is commendable that the Federal Government has empanelled 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% 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, a public policy tool that intersects law and economic development.

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 It is argued that the Nigerian legal and judicial framework is hopelessly outdated and needs an urgent review to meet current challenges.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, institutions etc. The late Prof. Mansur was the leading scholar on this linkage. A sound nation depends on vital legal institutional, regulatory and governance frameworks. The links unfortunately between legal institutions, political economy and development have often, and in our case, been completely overlooked or missed, hence under-development. It is important therefore that policymakers must, “consider that although macro policies are unquestionably important, there is a growing consensus that the quality of business regulations and the legal institutions that enforce it are a major determinant of development”. 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 etc.  It will transform the economy, create millions of jobs and pull 200 million Nigerians out of poverty.

The Federal Government should organize new streams of revenue around a transformed financial services sector, a new lean and empowered CBN with strong rules restricting banking to lending and not trading, a 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. A new but controversial approach on the strategy on corruption is to introduce Immunity from Criminal Prosecution Act. This is likely to get many takers with billions of dollars flowing back into Nigeria by repentant corrupt people!!! A new property law regime can reverse trillions of trapped value in our National housing Stock simply by efficient titling of property and with this, an instant credit market will be created. Development law policy will completely transform legal and judicial failure and bring efficiency to business transactions. I confidently predict that development law policy will transform the Nigerian economy. We will see sustained revenue inflows, double-digit growth, massive job creation and quantitative easing.

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