Regulatory Impact Analysis – Lebanon Working Group IV: Focus Group on Public Service Delivery, Public-Private Partnership and Regulatory Reform Amman , 28, 29 & 30 April 2008 By Ms. Rita Chidiac
The Prerequisites for Introducing RIA in Lebanon • Political Commitment to RIA : • Through the issuing of a decision from both the prime minister and the house speaker that enforces better regulations and RIA. • Both The Council of Ministers and Parliament to maintain high political support by issuing a law that commits both the legislative and executive to the RIA project.
Responsibility, Management & coordination of RIA programmes • The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) could have the leading role in the adoption of RIA. It would be useful to have an inter-ministerial committee where concerned ministries will be represented under the leadership of the MOJ • the Ministry of justice and the inter-ministerial committee, as mentioned in the answer to the previous question, adopt a regulatory policy program for better regulations
Responsibility, Management & coordination of RIA programmes • There are mechanisms that regulate the flow of communication between the various legislative, judicial and ministerial entities. • However, we suggest to create a legal and judiciary central body with broad responsibilities for regulatory reform and associated procedures similar to that in Tunisia and linked to the MOJ with a mandate to monitor the quality of RIA
Needed Skills and Training for Regulators • No training for officials carrying out impact assessment . However The National School of Administration (ENA) can develop a training program to train public officers applying RIA.
Who are the persons – besides those carrying out the RIA pilot projects, who would need such training? • The concerned officers in such training are: • heads of legal bureaus in the administration. • the legal department staff at the office of the prime minister. • MPs members of parliamentarian committees in charge of studying and approving law proposals.
Resent situation analysis and Preparation • The RIA model: structure and analytical method • There is a department for legislation and consultation in the MOJ, and a consultative panel to review legislations in the parliament for law updating, both can play a major role in adopting and applying RIA. • Law projects usually include the motives behind them, only these do not involve RIA. • Lately the council of Ministers issued a decree that requires all law projects to include an environmental impact assessment. • There does not seem to be detailed guidelines as to how environmental impact assessment is carried out. Budgetary impact is not included in the said decree.
The RIA model: structure and analytical method • The decree involving environmental impact assessment should be complemented with a wider approach that includes budgetary impact. • To date there are no criteria to apply for RIA model. Existing criteria are still too general.
Data collection • In the process of reviewing a draft law the government consults with the concerned authority and requests data from it. This requires a more rigorous approach and the appointment of specialists to analyze data. however data needs constant development . • Institutions that could be sourced for data include: MOJ, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economy and Trade, Ministry of Labor, Central Statistics Agency, as well as all other ministries each within its own field. • The responsibility for supplying data is incumbent to the unit within the institution that is most concerned with required data. In addition, these units will probably require training and the assistance of experts
Target RIA efforts and prioritisation • The most challenging regulatory sectors in Lebanon are: telecommunications, Electricity , SME’s, and investment sectors. • Targeting sectors for RIA depends largely on the Government policies and priorities. In this regard, RIA needs to target business investments whether large or medium.
RIA in the policy-making process: integration as early as possible • The adoption of RIA allows decision makers to make appropriate choices based on data that identifies the real costs and benefits of a law project. • RIA can be adopted as soon as a law project is initiated. to integrate RIA early helps prevent unnecessary expenditures.
Communicating the results • Once the RIA project is adopted the government needs to publish all related studies and make it available to the public. • The audiences for governmental publications include the citizen at large, members of the public sector, the business community, the banking sector, the business and industrial sectors, the executive branch, the court of account etc…
Consultation, Participation and Transparency • Consultations are usually conducted after the law project has been drafted in details. • Involved in consultations are professionals and labor unions, NGOs, the private sector and specialists of various trades. • The consultations are not formally publicized, only the media related these in details including the various comments and counter-comments. Also the involved parties make their views public using the media.
Consultation, Participation and Transparency • Consultations is part of the law making process in Lebanon, only it is more of a tradition than dictated by a law. • All types of public consultations are used including meetings, referrals. Informal consultations are conducted by the ministerial or parliamentary committees. For example a special committee was created to draft a new election law; the committee publicly requested input from all political parties and NGOs to input its projects or thoughts on the issue involved
Apply RIA to existing as well as new regulation • There are guidelines and principles on how to develop laws and regulations, only these are not well developed and do not match international standards. • The parliamentary committee for updating legislations is reviewing outdated laws and putting a program or timeline for carrying out the review. Also each ministry can request the review of its own legislations when required or when these are becoming obsolete. • The Office of the Minister for Administrative Reform is reviewing many existing laws, particularly those related to ministries structures and organization and others (e.g. the ombudsmen law, right to information law, the Anti corruption law, modifying the illicit enrichment law etc…).
Next Steps • Invite key players to a workshop to increase their awareness to RIA • Seek the support of OECD to help organize the workshop and provide expert lecturers to participate in it. • The workshop to generate specific recommendations for the adoption of RIA, and develop a legal and structural framework and secure high political endorsement • Need for coordinated efforts by both HE the ministers of Justice and Administrative reform to rally political support for the development and ratification of a legislation to adopt RIA • Implement the RIA legislation soon after its dissemination and develop implementation mechanisms for it, including the training of HR in the legal departments of various public institutions.