From left: UNIDO Senior Consultant on Regulatory Reform Delia Rodrigo, UNIDO National Focal Point Nawaz Rajabdeen, Industry and Commerce Ministry State Secretary Sandhaya Wijebandara, Industry and Commerce Ministry Additional Secretary M.A. Thajudeen, Consumer Affairs Authority Chairman Hasitha Tillekeratne, UN Resident Coordination and UNDP Resident Representative Una Mc Cauley and Consumer Affairs Authority Advisor Himali Jinadasa
Pic by Waruna Wanniarachchi
By Harshana Sellahewa
In an attempt to create clarity, transparency, efficiency and accountability in a rather defective and blemished regulatory system, the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) of the Industry and Commerce Ministry has joined hands with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) to organise a training programme on regulatory impact analysis (RIA).
The programme consists of a five-day training, a one-day seminar on January 8 at Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo, followed by a four-day intensive training from January 9 to 12 at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, for regulatory authorities in food safety and quality to educate the importance of carefully assessing regulatory interventions and how to apply two widely used quantitative methodologies, cost-benefit and cost-efficient.
Dignitaries at the event include UNIDO Senior Consultant on Regulatory Reform Delia Rodrigo, Industry and Commerce Ministry State Secretary Sandhaya Wijebandara, Consumer Affairs Authority Chairman Hasitha Tillekeratne and UN Resident Coordination and UNDP Resident Representative Una Mc Cauley as the chief guest.
The RIA aims to assist the Sri Lankan policymakers to make informed decisions based on cost-benefit analysis of various regulations and their likely impacts on society. The RIA is a systematic process by which the regulators try to solve a problem, identifying the various options and assessing the likely consequences of every option. The regulatory quality, referring to how the regulations are conceived and made, is set to clarify and create transparency, facilitating a participative and evidence-based regulatory process that would ultimately improve the quality of regulations and enhance the welfare of Sri Lankan consumers and producers.
Some factors as to why this causes to improve the quality of regulations, as well as some factors that exist within the regulatory of Sri Lanka are: lack of clarity, complexity and inconsistency, being overly prescriptive, creating perverse and damaging incentives (e.g.: corruption and ‘rent seeking’) and failing to update good regulations (becoming bad over time).
Overcoming these issues is critical because poor regulations mean markets perform poorly, implying less wealth, income, employment and growth. This also causes the government to lose control of the regulatory system, resulting in a dysfunctional system, corruption, reduced taxation revenues and more.
The workshop aims to raise awareness and share international experiences on the role of regulatory quality for economic and social development. It will provide an opportunity to expose Sri Lanka to the current international discussions on how to improve the quality of regulations and the various tools used at international level to ensure the regulators issue legal acts that do not impose unnecessary burdens to society and promote consumers protection and sound economic activity.