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Panelists at the just concluded NBA Section on Business Law Conference have advocated for structural reforms in the Nigerian economy. This call was made during the first plenary session which focused on “Transforming Nigeria’s Business Environment: Unlocking Potential through Legislative and Policy Reforms”. The Panel was moderated by Mrs Folake Akinkugbe-Filani, Chief Commercial Officer, Mixta Africa and had other erudite panelists – Dr Yemi Kale, Partner & Chief Economist, KPMG Nigeria; Mrs Ronke Sokefun, Former Chairperson of the Board of NDIC; Mr Olukorede Adenowo, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Bank; Mr Zeal Akaraiwe, CEO, Graeme Blaque; and Dr Yemi Osindero, Managing Partner, Uhuru Investment Partners.

Speaking about legislative reforms, the Panelists noted that laws should not be prescriptive but should be made broader to allow the judiciary effectively perform their role. They also noted that the economy is dysfunctional because it is tied to oil and that there is an urgent need to fix the engine of the non-oil sectors and allow them to grow. They further stated that the government should bring in the informal sector into the tax regime to reduce the burden on the formal sector and that the amount of tax one pays should be proportional to the services they get from the government.

They stressed the need to increase Nigeria’s domestic savings and investments like other emerging markets. They made a point that the government should do more in storytelling and re-branding the image of Nigeria and stop the negative headlines in order to attract foreign investments which will in turn attract local investors who have their investments aboard. They also stressed the need for private sector collaborations.

Nigeria is confronted with unstable economic policies, obstacles in regulatory processes, security issues, corruption, and inadequate infrastructure. The new government has multiple opportunities to reverse the situation and enhance Nigeria’s appeal to investors and skilled individuals. Achieving this goal involves adopting consistent and foreseeable economic policies, simplifying regulations, tackling security concerns, combating corruption, and allocating resources to infrastructure development. By addressing these obstacles, the new administration can unlock Nigeria’s economic potential, leading to increased prosperity and fairness throughout the country.