The National President of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Dele Oye Esq., has reiterated the need to prioritize transparency, accountability, and the rule of law in the nation’s governance structures to drive sustainable growth and development.

Oye also highlighted the critical role of commercial arbitration in driving economic growth and attracting investments, noting that with adequate investment in the arbitration infrastructure, the nation can create and sustain an environment that fosters economic prosperity for all Nigerians.

The NACCIMA boss stated this at the International Chamber of Commerce Nigeria (ICCN) Dance and Dinner, with the theme “Good Governance: Panacea for Peace and Prosperity”.

He said NACCIMA is at the forefront of private sector efforts to support good governance in Nigeria, noting that the Chamber represents the interests of the Nigerian private sector and works closely with the government to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.

“Nigeria has made significant strides in recent years toward achieving sustainable economic development and peaceful coexistence amongst its component units, and there is still much room for improvement in this regard,” Oye said.

“The importance of good governance cannot be overemphasized, as it serves as the foundation on which society’s ideals of peace and prosperity are built. Without effective governance, the potential of our great nation will remain untapped, hindering progress, and stifling opportunities for growth.

“Good governance plays a critical role in the development and progress of any nation, and Nigeria is no exception. It encompasses the institutions, processes, and systems through which authority is exercised, and public affairs are managed,” he said.

Oye stated that the country has encountered several significant challenges in achieving good governance, challenges which have hindered the country’s progress and development. He said some of the most pressing challenges include corruption, political instability, weak institutions and inadequate service delivery.

He further said successive Nigerian governments have taken several commendable steps aimed at improving governance and combating corruption, such as establishment of anti-corruption agencies, electoral reforms, civil society engagement, and institutional reforms.

Despite these initiatives, however, he said more needs to be done to combat corruption, strengthen institutions, promote political stability, and ensure effective delivery of public services.

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“The private sector also plays a vital role in promoting good governance in Nigeria. As a significant contributor to the economy, the private sector can influence governance practices through responsible business conduct, ethical standards, and corporate social responsibility initiatives,” Oye said.

“By adhering to principles of transparency, accountability, and integrity, apart from the business community’s self-benefit of sustainable growth and development, businesses can set a positive example and contribute to a culture of good governance,” he said.

One critical aspect of good governance that requires attention today, Oye said, is the role of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, particularly commercial arbitration, in driving economic prosperity. He said commercial arbitration provides a reliable and efficient mechanism for resolving commercial disputes, especially those involving parties from different countries. By offering a neutral forum for dispute resolution, it instills confidence in investors and facilitates cross-border trade.

“In Nigeria, we have witnessed the positive impact of Commercial Arbitration on our economy. The establishment of the Lagos Court of Arbitration and the Nigerian Institute of Chartered Arbitrators have contributed significantly to the growth of arbitration as a preferred method of dispute resolution. The legal framework for Commercial arbitration has also been revamped by the enactment and coming into force of the 2023 Arbitration and Mediation Act. These developments have not only boosted investor confidence but have also positioned Nigeria as a regional hub for arbitration in West Africa,” Oye said.

“Furthermore, international commercial arbitration helps to reduce the burden on our already overwhelmed judicial system. By providing an alternative avenue for dispute resolution, it eases the backlog of cases in our courts, allowing for a more efficient and speedy administration of justice,” he said.

The NACCIMA boss said the benefits of international commercial arbitration go beyond resolving disputes. It also promotes the rule of law since parties willingly submit to a binding decision by a neutral tribunal, and this contributes to a stable and predictable legal framework, which is essential for attracting foreign direct investment and fostering economic growth.

“However, the recent P&ID judgement obtained by the Federal Government of Nigeria, with approximately US$11 billion at stake, highlights the potential drawbacks of international commercial arbitration and its impact on developing and smaller nations,” Oye said.

He said to fully harness the potential of international commercial arbitration, it is crucial for the country to continue to invest in the development of arbitration infrastructure, including training arbitrators, improving the enforcement of arbitral awards, and promoting awareness of the benefits of arbitration among businesses and legal practitioners.

“In conclusion, good governance is vital for achieving peace and prosperity in any nation, and Nigeria is no exception. It is imperative that we prioritize transparency, accountability, and upholding the rule of law in our governance structures,” Oye said.

“Additionally, we must recognize the critical role of commercial arbitration in driving economic growth and attracting investments. By embracing these principles and investing in our arbitration infrastructure, we can create and sustain an environment that fosters economic prosperity for all Nigerians,” he said.