About the Expert NETWORK

About the
Expert Network

The National Assembly Business Environment Roundtable (NASSBER) is a partnership between the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) and Nigeria Bar Association’s Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL) to work with the National Assembly. It is a platform for the legislature and the private sector to engage, deliberate and act on a framework that will improve Nigeria’s business environment and achieve global competitiveness through a review of relevant legislations and provisions of the Constitution. NESG serves as the Secretariat of NASSBER and it provides ‘back office’ administrative, secretarial and logistical support to NASSBER operations. One of its key functions is to encourage the commitment of the private sector to NASSBER and it works as a connection between the private sector and the National Assembly. The NASSBER Expert Network will bring together foremost experts from the academia, business, government, international organizations, civil society, etc. as volunteers in delivering the NASSBER agenda. They will come with a reputation of brilliance in their areas of expertise to influence and improve the quality of NASSBER legislations. Members are expected to demonstrate commitment to achieve the overall objectives of NASSBER.

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Membership Criteria

Members of the NASSBER Expert Network shall possess knowledge and expertise in their fields of interest and agree to contribute to NASSBER activities in the following thematic areas: Arbitration & Dispute Resolution, Constitution Review, Data & Digital Economy, Financial Services, Human Capital Development, Infrastructure & Urban Development, Innovation & Intellectual Property, Institutions, Investments, Public Finance & Taxation, Regulations, Trade,

NASSBER Thematic Areas are working groups focused on specific subjects or issues which carry out research, policy, or programmatic interventions on such subjects The NASSBER Arbitration and Dispute Resolution Thematic Area is focused on the importance of speedy resolution of disputes as a pathway to enhancing businesses and economic transactions. 

Dispute resolution is critical to the functioning of any economy because it helps to ensure that disputes between parties are resolved in a fair and efficient manner. Dispute resolution is especially relevant to the Nigerian economy, as it can help to promote economic growth and development by providing businesses and individuals with a stable and predictable legal framework in which to operate. Nigeria is a rapidly growing economy, with a population of over 200 million people and a diverse range of economic activities, including agriculture, manufacturing, and services. Dispute resolution mechanisms can play a critical role in supporting this growth by ensuring that disputes are resolved efficiently and fairly. 

In an economy where disputes are not resolved effectively, businesses and individuals may be discouraged from engaging in economic activity, as they are unsure of their legal rights and may be wary of the consequences of disputes. This can lead to decreased investment, lower economic growth, and reduced consumer confidence. Effective dispute resolution mechanisms, such as courts, arbitration, mediation and conciliation, can help to provide businesses and individuals with a level of certainty and security, encouraging economic activity and promoting growth.  

In addition, effective dispute resolution mechanisms can help to reduce the time and costs associated with resolving disputes, which can improve the efficiency of economic activity and encourage investment. This is particularly important in Nigeria, where the cost and time associated with resolving disputes are often significant barriers to economic growth. 

The NASSBER Arbitration and Dispute Resolution Thematic Area is headed by Mrs. Diane Okoko, who is supported by members of the Expert Network. 

Overall, NASSBER is certain that Arbitration and dispute resolution is crucial to the continued growth and development of the Nigerian economy. By providing businesses and individuals with a stable and predictable legal framework, effective dispute resolution can help to promote economic activity, attract foreign investment, and improve the overall competitiveness of the Nigerian economy. 

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Data and Digital Economy are critical components for businesses in Nigeria. Nigeria's digital economy has experienced rapid growth driven by increased internet penetration, a large youth population, and a vibrant startup ecosystem. Nigeria's digital economy has become a major contributor to Nigeria's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), accounting for over 14% in 2020. The Data and Digital Economy Thematic Area has leading industry experts focused on Nigeria's data and digital governance framework, digital rights, data protection, digital inclusion, data infrastructure, and digital technology.  

Nigeria has a vibrant digital economy, with a growing number of startups and digital entrepreneurs. However, Nigeria needs help leveraging the digital economy to create jobs, reduce poverty, and enhance economic growth. Nigeria needs a data and digital economy policy and legal and regulatory framework that provides economic growth and development opportunities. 

For Nigeria to fully harness the economic benefit of the data and digital economy, several challenges must be addressed. Nigeria still needs to address significant infrastructure gaps in broadband connectivity, electricity, and transportation. These infrastructure gaps limit the reach and impact of digital technologies and make it difficult for many Nigerians to access and participate in the digital economy. 

As the digital economy grows, so do cybersecurity threats. Nigeria has experienced several high-profile cyber-attacks in recent years, including ransomware attacks and phishing scams. These threats can undermine the trust and confidence of consumers and investors in Nigeria's digital ecosystem. 

Skill gaps must be addressed, as many Nigerians need more digital skills to participate in the digital economy. Digital illiteracy can limit the number of people who can benefit from digital technologies and limit the growth of the digital economy. 

Access to finance can be a significant challenge for startups and small businesses in Nigeria's digital economy. It limits their ability to scale up and grow and limits the availability of investment opportunities for investors. 

Nigeria's policy and the legal and regulatory environment for the digital economy are still evolving, and there are some areas where uncertainty or inconsistency exists. For example, the regulation of e-commerce and online payments is still relatively new, and there is some ambiguity around data protection laws. Nigeria will welcome with gladness a Data Protection Act which protects rights and provides safeguards for data subjects.  

Nigeria’s Data and Digital Economy are critical to Nigeria’s global competitiveness and will grow Nigeria’s GDP, creating more productive markets, and strengthening transparency and accountability. 

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Finance is at the core of development and functional financial systems can boost economic growth and reduce poverty. The NASSBER Financial Services Thematic Area is focused on a broad range of institutions and establishments that provide financial products and services to individuals, businesses, and governments. In any thriving economy, every member of that economy must be able to obtain financial services such as credit, deposit, payment, insurance and other risk management services. 

The financial services industry is a key driver of economic growth and development, because it provides the essential financial infrastructure necessary for economic activity. The availability of financial services and products helps to promote investment, entrepreneurship, and innovation, which in turn leads to job creation, increased economic output, and higher standards of living. An easy and subsequent increase in accessing finance helps businesses grow and improve their financial output, but where access to credit is difficult, such as high collateral value request from banks, short repayment periods and high interest rates, many businesses will eventually fail.  

In addition, the financial services industry plays a critical role in promoting international trade and investment, by providing financing and other financial services to businesses engaged in global commerce. This promotes economic integration and cooperation between countries, which can lead to increased trade and investment flows, and improved economic outcomes. A recent study by the Mckinsey Global institute estimates that financial inclusion has the potential of boosting the GDP of the world by 3.7 trillion by 2025 which will be a 6% growth in world GDP.  

With over 45% of Nigerian citizens well below the poverty line, most of these persons do not have access to a formal financial system. There are 70 million financially excluded individuals who do not own bank accounts but enjoy limited financial services through informal arrangements such as cooperatives, esusu etc. This means that a large number of Nigerians are financially excluded with the poor, women, rural dwellers and refugees constituting a large percentage of the financially excluded. Also, Nigeria’s informal sector which is said to account for 65% of its GDP does not have ready access to finance. The Naira redesign and cashless policy initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria is a great opportunity for Nigeria to make reform efforts towards achieving financial inclusion for these categories of persons.  

Overall, the financial services industry is an essential component of modern economies, as it provides the financial infrastructure necessary for economic activity, promotes investment and entrepreneurship, and supports international trade and investment.

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Human capital development is a key driver of social and economic progress, and it is an essential component of any strategy aimed at promoting sustainable development and prosperity.  

Our goal in the Human Capital Development Thematic Area is to support reform in critical areas for economic development. These areas include: education, health, nutrition, early childhood development, and gender equity. Investing in these areas is essential for building human capital, promoting sustainable development, and achieving long-term economic growth and prosperity. 

The World Bank uses the Human Capital Index (HCI) tool to measure the contribution of health and education to the productivity of the next generation of workers. The HCI provides a score for each country based on the level of human capital development, with higher scores indicating greater investment in health and education. The critical areas under HCI for development include: 

1.    Education: Education is a critical area under the HCI, as it plays a crucial role in building human capital. The HCI measures the quantity and quality of education that children can expect to receive, including the number of years of schooling, the quality of education, and the outcomes of education. 

2.    Health: Good health is essential for building human capital, as it enables individuals to learn, work, and contribute to the economy. The HCI measures health outcomes, including mortality rates, stunting rates, and other indicators of overall health and well-being. 

3.    Nutrition: Proper nutrition is a critical aspect of human capital development, as it contributes to overall health and well-being, and enables individuals to learn and work more effectively. The HCI includes measures of child malnutrition rates, which are an important indicator of the availability of proper nutrition. 

4.    Early Childhood Development: Early childhood development is a key area of human capital development, as it sets the foundation for future learning and productivity. The HCI includes measures of early childhood development, including early childhood education, parenting practices, and early childhood health and nutrition. 

5.    Gender Equity: Gender equity is an important aspect of human capital development, as it ensures that all individuals have equal opportunities to learn, work, and contribute to the economy. The HCI includes measures of gender equity, including gender gaps in education, health, and other indicators of human capital development. 

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The NASSBER Infrastructure and Urban Development Thematic Area is focused on Infrastructure as an essential component of economic development. Infrastructure plays a crucial role in promoting growth, creating jobs, reducing poverty, and improving living standards. Infrastructure can take many forms, including transportation systems, energy and power systems, telecommunications networks, water supply, and sanitation, as well as social Infrastructure such as schools and hospitals. The presence of adequate Infrastructure ultimately results in development and is critical in developing countries, where infrastructure gaps often constrain economic growth. 

One of the primary benefits of Infrastructure is its ability to increase connectivity. Transportation infrastructure, such as roads, railways, ports, and airports, facilitates the movement of people, goods, and services, connecting different parts of a country and the world. This can help to increase trade, reduce transportation costs, and improve access to markets, which are key drivers of economic growth. Infrastructure can also improve connectivity in the energy sector, enabling a reliable and affordable energy supply, which can reduce production costs and increase business competitiveness. 

Infrastructure can also increase productivity by improving the efficiency of production processes. For example, modern and efficient transportation systems can reduce transportation times, improve supply chain management, and reduce inventory costs. Similarly, a reliable and affordable energy supply can reduce the cost of production and enable businesses to operate more efficiently. Improved productivity can lead to increased output, higher profits, and job creation, contributing to poverty reduction and improved living standards. 

A well document outcome of the provision of infrastructure in a nation is its ability to create jobs directly in the construction sector and indirectly in other sectors of the economy. Infrastructure projects require significant labor inputs, which can provide employment opportunities for the local workforce. Additionally, the construction of Infrastructure can stimulate economic activity in related sectors, such as manufacturing and service industries, further contributing to job creation. Infrastructure can also stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship by providing a supportive environment for businesses to start and grow. For example, access to high-speed internet can enable businesses to tap into new markets, improve their products and services, and become more competitive. 

Adequate Infrastructure is often a key consideration for foreign investors when deciding where to invest. Countries with modern and efficient Infrastructure are more attractive to investors, which can lead to increased foreign direct investment (FDI). Increased FDI can provide access to capital, technology, and markets, which can further stimulate economic growth and development. 

Ultimately, the NASSBER Infrastructure Thematic Area recognises Infrastructure as a critical component of economic development, providing a foundation for sustainable growth, job creation, poverty reduction, and improved living standards. Countries that prioritize infrastructure development and maintenance can create a conducive environment for sustainable economic growth and development. By investing in Infrastructure, governments can promote economic prosperity, reduce poverty, and improve the quality of life for their citizens. 


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Innovation is crucial to the economy as it drives growth, and productivity creates jobs and improves the standard of living. While Nigeria has made progress in developing its innovation and technology sectors, challenges still need to be addressed in intellectual property. The Innovation and Intellectual property thematic area focuses on protecting intellectual property rights and creating advocacy on the benefits of a robust framework for Nigeria’s global competitiveness. 

One of the main challenges in Nigeria is the need for stronger IP laws and enforcement mechanisms. A robust legal framework is necessary for innovators and businesses to protect their inventions and creative works, which can discourage investment in research and development. In addition, there is a need for greater awareness and understanding of IP rights among individuals and businesses, which can help to promote innovation and creativity.

The Nigerian government has taken steps to address these challenges, including establishing the Nigerian Copyright Commission and the Patent and Trademark Offices in the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment responsible for registering and enforcing IP rights. The government has also signed international agreements, such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), to strengthen its IP framework.

However, Nigeria needs investment in research and development and greater collaboration between industry and academia to promote innovation. The Nigerian government can also work to create a more business-friendly environment that encourages entrepreneurship and supports the growth of nano, micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises.

While Nigeria has progressed in developing its innovation and technology sectors, much work still needs to be done to ensure that IP rights are protected, and innovation is promoted. It is imperative to reform IP laws to meet global best practices. 

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The NASSBER Thematic Area is focused on creating an enabling environment for the inflow of investment and the growth of businesses by implementing sound economic policies, and ensuring a stable macroeconomic environment. 

As the most populous country with the largest gross domestic product(GDP) in Africa, Nigeria is the largest investment market in Africa and one of the strongest economies in Africa.  With a comparably lower corporate tax regime and an enhanced and simple procedure for establishing businesses in Nigeria, it is a prime environment for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). 

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development UNCTAD 2019 World Investment Report, Nigeria is the third host economy for FDI in Africa, behind Egypt and Ethiopia. Estimated at USD99.6 billion in 2018, the total stock of FDI represents 25.1% of the country's GDP. However, Nigeria still falls short of its true potential and has not utilized the opportunities open to it by addressing the inherent lacunas in its systems.  

To establish a competitive investment climate that can attract, retain and leverage investment for private sector led growth, the government must create and execute a comprehensive approach that addresses the regulatory, procedural and institutional barriers affecting the investment lifecycle. A high quality of regulation characterized by very few regulatory hurdles, transparency and predictability of Government policies and actions are important components necessary for any nation to experience an influx of private sector and foreign direct investments (FDI). 

Overall, investments are crucial for the development of any country, as they help to create new capital assets, promote job creation, technology transfer, improve infrastructure, and increase export earnings. Developing countries that prioritize investment and create an enabling environment for investment can attract foreign investors, create a more favorable environment for domestic businesses, and promote long-term economic growth and development. This is the core of the mandate of NASSBER’s Investment Thematic Area. 

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Every government is responsible for protecting its citizens' consumer rights and ensuring that private investors and businesses are not taking unwarranted advantage of customers. Therefore, regulatory bodies are important agencies set up to ensure compliance with laws pertaining to any particular sector. 

Regulatory agencies create a thriving environment for investors which boosts the business environment and accelerates the socioeconomic status of any country. The government of any nation can crystalize reform efforts with regulations that will address the lacunas in the business environment while concurrently fixing the difficulties faced by the players in its economy by fostering a stable, fair, predictable and transparent business environment based on regulations that align with advanced international principles, directions and standards.  

Besides cutting red tape, streamlining administrative approval, and improving supervision and administrative law enforcement, a major function of regulators is the protection of the market players against monopolistic abuse and managerial autonomy. Therefore, ensuring that property and other legitimate rights and interests are protected, establishing itself as a unified platform where parties can seek redress when needed.  

Regulators also monitor services outsourced under Private Public Partnership (PPP) agreement and through relations take out the irregularity of information between the government and the PPP, ensuring that enterprises are established faster, equality in market accessibility, the solid implementation of tax and fee reduction policies, and easing financing difficulties. Improvement of regulatory environments remains at the core of efforts to unlock private sector investment and jobs. 

In Nigeria, the effects of regulatory agencies are not felt; this results from the agencies needing to exercise at full capacity and completely interpret their statutory act. The manual method of operations is rather an inhibiting factor which reflects the need for more innovations and evaluation of the regulatory agencies to function in present times.  

The lack of automated systems of operations gives rise to corruption and incompetence. The government's meddling in operations is another problem faced by regulatory agencies in Nigeria. A notable example is a fine by the National Communications Commission on MTN for non-compliance with Regulations 19 and 20, Section 15(2) of the Registration of Subscription Regulations Act 2011. The Federal Government intervened and accepted N50 billion as a "good faith deposit".  

The Legislative arm of government is tasked with setting up regulatory agencies to enforce and implement specific laws in a particular sector. There is a need for the legislature to set intervals for a review of the outdated regulatory framework. The legislature and executive also need to provide the regulators with the policy framework within which they must make their decisions. By articulating that framework, they simultaneously provide all parties with due notice of the basic parameters of regulatory policy and principles to be followed.  

Also, every function of each regulatory body will need to be detailed and drilled down to avoid duplicity of functions. The Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) are examples of regulatory agencies with duplicated functions that need to be spelt out or merged. 

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Core Principles

• Leverage the credibility and technical grasp of relevant issues to influence the quality and passage of the relevant Bills.

• Deepen stakeholder engagement and collaboration with the National Assembly.

• Achieve clarity and consistency in the communication of key messages.

• Build the necessary collaborations for continuous momentum and effectiveness.

Terms of Membership

Membership of the NASSBER Expert Network is on an individual basis so members represent themselves and not their organizations. Therefore, stand-ins are not permitted. The Nigerian Economic Summit Group and Nigeria Bar Association’s Section on Business Law reserves the right to terminate membership based on a member’s non-engagement or violation of ethics. Similarly, a member can choose to disengage at any time. Membership does not grant or imply the endorsement or sponsorship of the member’s goods or services or otherwise express any preferences for, or promotion of, the member’s activities or their organization’s goods or services by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and/or the Nigeria Bar Association’s Section on Business Law.

As a core requirement for membership, NASSBER Expert Network members will be invited to:

  • • Participate in National Assembly Public Hearings and other NASSBER events/activities.
  • • Serve in Technical Advisory Committees that may be established by the relevant National Assembly Standing Committees working on specific legislations.
  • • Contribute knowledge and thought leadership via blogs, articles or reports on NESG and/or NBA-SBL platforms and channels. All such contributions will be duly and fully acknowledged. The intellectual property of content and contributions made in the context of the NASSBER Expert Network shall remain the property of each contributing member.

The Nigerian Economic Summit Group and Nigeria Bar Association’s Section on Business Law may also invite members of the NASSBER Expert Network to participate in their events and/or other projects to share ideas and knowledge in their areas of expertise.

Compliance and Ethics

  • • Each member of the NASSBER Expert Network can make fair use of knowledge and insight gained during their related activities. However, members are responsible for the content they share and must ensure their contributions do not infringe on any third-party intellectual property rights.
  • • The sharing of deliberations or related written or recorded materials outside NASSBER activities by members is not permitted without the expressed consent of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and Nigeria Bar Association’s Section on Business Law.
  • • The Nigerian Economic Summit Group and Nigeria Bar Association’s Section on Business Law will not be held liable for any third-party claims regarding the unauthorized use of content submitted by a member of the NASSBER Expert Network. Therefore, members agree to indemnify and hold the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and the Nigeria Bar Association’s Section on Business Law, their officers, directors, employees, and members harmless against any and all claims, suits, actions, costs, counsel fees, expenses, damages, losses, liabilities, judgements and decrees in this regard.
  • • The use of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and Nigeria Bar Association’s Section on Business Law’s intellectual property (including, but not limited to, trademarks and logos) by members, whether printed or in electronic format, is not permitted unless expressly authorized by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and Nigeria Bar Association’s Section on Business Law.
  • • Members are also reminded that personal data must be protected. The term “personal data” shall mean any data or information relating to any identified or identifiable legal or natural person that is protected by the applicable law. For the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and the Nigeria Bar Association’s Section on Business Law, “personal data” shall include, without limitation, personal data of the partners, members, officers, directors, employees, consultants, attorneys, accountants or agents; as well as any participants in NESG and/or NBA-SBL events and/or activities.
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