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Agbakoba harps on Nigeria’s economic, institutional transformation

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A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Dr Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), on Wednesday said that there was the need for institutional, legal and economic restructuring of Nigeria.

Agbakoba said in Lagos that it was crucial to “design” a comprehensive institutional framework like an architectural plan, which would transform the country.

He spoke at an interactive session  with newsmen in Lagos.

The former NBA president  said that  the  design should take into account development law which, he said,  formed a vital element of any successful model.

“Development law is a public policy tool that intersects law and economic development.

“Scholars agree that there is a strong link among law, regulatory institutions, governance, economic development and national welfare.

“It is argued that the Nigerian legal and judicial framework is  outdated and needs an urgent review to meet current challenges,” he said.

According to Agbakoba, economic transformation depends largely on a vital legal, institutional, regulatory and governance frameworks.

He said the links among legal institutions, political economy and development had often been completely overlooked; hence, underdevelopment.

“Hernado De Soto in his unique book “The Mystery of Capital” gives a striking example of law as a key primer of development using just one index; that is “property law.

“Property consists of two values, physical and conceptual; the physical value may be fixed; for instance,  a house, while the conceptual value is fixed in property law systems.

“In developed nations, property law allows owners of houses to represent their values in the conceptual realm.

“This possibility allows easy access to credit, which in turn generates capital for development,” he said.

Agbakoba said that weak legal regime in Nigeria caused absence of conceptual representation of property to create value.

“If the housing value is indexed to the banking system by a massive legal reform of the property law system, we can create an instant credit market with major impact on development.

“In this way, we wake up dead capital for development,” he said.

According to him, it is important for policymakers to consider that although macro policies are important, the quality of business regulations and legal institutions that enforce them are major determinants of development.

He, therefore, called for application of development law in the financial services sector, national trade policy, maritime, aviation and space, legal and justice sector, land administration and social security administration, among others,”

Agbakoba said that the application  would  help to  transform the economy, create millions of jobs and pull out 200 million Nigerians out of poverty. (NAN)

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