Regulatory Impact Analysis Pilot Project – Lebanon Working Group IV: Focus Group on Regulatory Reform Paris, 4 May 2007 By Mr. Rahif Hajj Ali
The Prerequisites for Introducing RIA in Lebanon • 1) Political Commitment to RIA • Questions Which are the institutions that will support and demand the introduction of RIA? • The Council of Ministers for proposed laws to be sent to the parliament. the parliament for law projects proposals. How can they get and maintain support at a high political level? • By issuing a law that commits both the legislative and executive to the RIA project.
Would it be possible to make a public statement indicating that there will be an explicit, published policy in your country promoting government-wide regulatory reform or regulatory quality improvement, including the use of regulatory impact assessment? • 1) Political Commitment to RIA Questions • Yes; through the issuing of a decision from both the prime minister and the house speaker that enforces better regulations and RIA.
2) Responsibility, Management and Coordination of RIA programmesQuestions Which Ministry or institution would be the one initiating and then taking a lead-role in the introduction of RIA? Would it be useful to define a cross-departmental steering group? • 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 Would it be better to select a regulatory policy programme that involves many departments or should it be confined to just one? • the ministry of justice and the inter-ministerial committee, as mentioned in the answer to the previous question, adopt a regulatory policy programme for better regulations
2) Responsibility, Management and Coordination of RIA programmesQuestions • We suggest to create a legal and judiciary studies center similar to that in Tunisia and linked to the MOJ with a mandate to oversee RIA What potential is there to establish a central body with broad responsibilities for regulatory reform and associated procedures that could later on be utilised to monitor the quality of RIA?
Does training for officials carrying out impact assessment exist? If so, who can participate, is it obligatory and how often those training sessions take place? 3) Needed Skills and Training for Regulators Questions • No such training exists. If not, is there a governmental or academic body which could supervise the establishment of such courses? • The National School of Administration (ENA) can develop a training programme to train public officers on applying RIA.
Who are the persons – besides those carrying out the RIA pilot projects, who would need such training? 3) Needed Skills and Training for Regulators Questions • 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 What kind of building blocks exists already in your country? Are there legal notes attached to legislative and regulatory proposals that justify the decision? Are budget and environmental impact assessments prepared? If yes, what is the methodology already in place to carry them out? • 4) The RIA model: structure and analytical method • Questions: • 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.
How could this existing procedure become a “lite” approach for RIA? Which are the elements that should be improved? 4) The RIA model: structure and analytical method Questions: • The decree involving environmental impact assessment should be complemented with a wider one that includes budgetary impact. Do you consider a two-part approach appropriate for your country? • Yes. A two part approach is appropriate for our situation
The model proposed above suggests multiple criteria in the application of a “lite” RIA model. Please consider carefully whether the regulatory project chosen for the pilot project would be permitted to undergo an assessment against these criteria. 4) The RIA model: structure and analytical method Questions: • To date there are no criteria to apply for “lite” RIA model. Existing criteria are still too general.
5) Data collection strategiesQuestions: Is economic data available to undertake a quantitative analysis on costs and benefits of the proposed regulation? Which institutions need to be consulted to provide such data? • Yes, there are data but the usage of these is not systematic • 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. Are these institutions co-operating internationally to improve data availability and compatibility for international comparisons? • Such cooperation may exist, particularly when international donors are involved. Available data needs constant development.
5) Data collection strategiesQuestions: • In the process of reviewing a draft law the government consults with the concerned authority and requests data from it, only this requires a more rigorous approach and the appointment of specialists to analyze data. How can governments make best use of the data available? Do they need to recruit specialists that can use the data?
5) Data collection strategiesQuestions: For the pilot project, what is the data that is needed? Who will be responsible for ensuring the data collection? Is there a need to integrate experts for this? • The data for the pilot project is much dependent on the type of the institution that is involved and the aspect of its activities i.e. economical, social etc…also 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.
6) Target RIA efforts and prioritisation Questions: Which are the most challenging regulatory areas in your country? Which issues are listed in the priorities for regulatory policy? • The most challenging sectors in Lebanon are: telecommunications, power supply, SMEs, investment intensive sectors. If impact assessment is to be introduced, how can it be appropriately targeted? Looking at specific groups that will be affected with the proposed regulation? Stressing the impact on businesses and SMEs in particular? • 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.
For the pilot project, which are the groups that will be directly affected? Are there administrative burdens that will be added to citizens and businesses? 6) Target RIA efforts and prioritisation Questions: • Groups in the pilot project that are mostly affected are business investors and vulnerable citizens. • RIA needs to assess the burdens laid upon the business community and the vulnerable citizens and alleviate these.
In the current legislative process in your country, what would be the best timing to undertake RIA? What are the benefits of integrating RIA in the early stages of the regulatory process? 7) RIA in the policy-making process: integration as early as possible Questions: • RIA can be adopted as soon as a law project is initiated. to integrate RIA early helps prevent unnecessary expenditures. How can RIA make a relevant contribution to the decision-making process? • Certainly 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.
7) RIA in the policy-making process: integration as early as possible Questions: Are there established mechanisms to facilitate communication between the different institutions involved in regulation? • Yes there are mechanisms that regulate the flow of communication between the various legislative, judicial and ministerial entities.
8. Communicating the resultsQuestions: What is the audience for governmental publications dealing with public policy issues? How do you communicate to the public the results of government action? • 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… Once the RIA pilot project is taken place and later on has been finished, does the government plan to communicate the results to the public?
8. Communicating the resultsQuestions: • All the media channels. • Once the RIA project is adopted the government needs to publish all related studies and make it available to the public. What means of communication do you think would be most useful and effective to disseminate RIA?
9) Consultation, Participation and Transparency Questions: Is consultation a part of the law-making process in your country? If yes, is it required by law? • Yes consultations is part of the law making process in Lebanon, only it is more of a tradition than dictated by a law. What forms of public consultation are used? Informal consultation? Public notice and invitation to comment? Public meeting and hearings? • 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.
Who are involved in consultation? Experts in relevant areas? Representatives from other government departments upon which the proposed regulation has effects? Business representatives? 9) Consultation, Participation and Transparency Questions: • Involved in consultations are professionals and labor unions, NGOs, the private sector and specialists of various trades. At what stages in the regulatory process is consultation undertaken? Prior to outline proposals being made? Prior to detailed proposals being made? After detailed proposals are made?
9) Consultation, Participation and Transparency Questions: • Consultations are usually conducted after the law project has been drafted in details. Are the views of participants in the consultation process made public? • 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.
10) Apply RIA to existing as well as new regulationQuestions: Are there regulatory quality requirements put in practice in the creation of regulation? And in the revision of the existing regulations? • Yes there are guidelines and principles on how to develop laws and regulations, only these are not well developed and do not match international standards. Are there already programmes to review existing regulation? If so, who is responsible for the administration of these programmes?
10) Apply RIA to existing as well as new regulationQuestions: • The parliamentary committee for updating legislations is reviewing outdated laws and putting a programme 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. • In addition the Ministry of 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 promulgation and develop implementation mechanisms for it, including the training of HR in the legal departments of various public institutions.