[NEWS AND VIEWS]
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December 06, 2003More credit please. Vincent Del Buono, co-ordinator of the Access to Justice programme for the British Council, outlines how law reform can promote economic growth.
"Yes there are real problems here in Nigeria, but it also has the talents of its people and enough resources to turn things around. The people are natural entrepreneurs. They put a huge amount of energy into their small and medium sized enterprises".
"Most of the country's growth is based on oil. It creates good revenues but some also refer to it as the 'curse of oil'. The few industries that existed here before the oil boom, such as an extremely vibrant textile industry in the north, have all but disappeared."
"One of the most important things to note about Nigeria is that no one uses credit cards. In effect we have a cash economy, which in turn means there is little planning for the future whatever the pressing need of the day is attracts resources."
"Further, it means people will only do business with people they know, which immediately limits the number of people they can do business with. There is no effective consumer protection and no sense that there is someone they can complain to, or in extreme circumstances sue."
"Legislation is needed but in a country as diverse as Nigeria it needs to more precisely accord with local practices. It needs also to be timely, efficient and get results. And it needs to be fair and transparent."
"What consumer legislation there has been has proved ineffective, largely because of lack of enforcement. It makes people leery of being cheated. The result is that we have a restricted rather than a closed community".