Al-Mustakbal Foundation for Strategic and Policy Studies (AMF), Palestine | Montenegro Business Alliance | Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA), Nigeria | Jos Business School, Nigeria | Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry | Fedesarrollo, Colombia | Development in Democracy Foundation (DENDE), Paraguay | Iraq 2020 Assembly | Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM)

Al-Mustakbal Foundation for Strategic and Policy Studies (AMF), Palestine

Legislative Reform for the Palestinian Economy

The problem:
The program addressed the legal and regulatory gaps which existed in certain legislative areas relevant to doing business in Palestine. The work consisted of drafting, updating, amending business legislation, regulations and preparing policy papers and strategies. The objective of the program was to develop, improve and update the legal and regulatory framework to support economic development and improve the business enabling environment. AMF was a recipient of a grant from the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) following a competitive award.

The practice:
This program prepared 24 pieces of legislation either by drafting new laws, amending ones in force, or proposing policy and legislative notes. It also prepared 30 sets of regulations for implementing laws in force. It further developed ten policy documents, two strategies and one analysis of prevailing free trade agreements. The program built on the legislative framework in force with the aim of providing a more comprehensive and more advanced framework to support and facilitate increased economic activity. The process was participatory and consultative. It was carried out in coordination with the government and the engagement of private sector and business organizations. A number of workshops, focus groups and meetings were held to ensure the success of the program.

The program was innovative in having been structured to rely solely on local consultants, legislative drafters and policy analysts. The work was carried out in the Arabic language to avoid the perils of translation from English. Past experience has shown the extent to which work prepared in English was hindered from being implemented because of translation problems and failure to account for the local context. In this respect, our work achieved the intended impact.

Why and how Al-Mustakbal Foundation developed this practice:
AMF's mission is to contribute to enhancing rule of law and economic development through advanced research, policy analysis and strategy development. The program which AMF undertook fit squarely with its mandate. AMF developed the program in conjunction with the relevant government institutions to meet the growing needs of the Palestinian economy. AMF, has over the past 9 years, developed expertise and knowledge in the field of legislative drafting, so it is well known for its ability to conduct complex analysis and timely delivery.

Steps and tips for implementing the practice:
The steps were:
  1. Scoping: AMF started with scoping and a survey of laws and regulations in force.
  2. Review: AMF reviewed the results of the scoping and survey and categorized the issues for either amending or those requiring drafting.
  3. Consultation: AMF consulted with relevant government institutions on all relevant policy issues.
  4. Agreement on Scope: AMF and government institutions agreed on the scope of work, policies for consideration and prepared a work plan and provided the details to MEPI.
  5. Research: AMF, in line with the agreed work plan, started the research work.
  6. Analysis: Following research, AMF engaged in the analysis and produced the first draft.
  7. Consultation: AMF identified private sector institutions and business organizations to engage in the review of the analysis.
  8. Drafting: AMF, following initial consultations, engaged in drafting and preparing the first draft of either new laws, amendments, regulations, policy notes, or strategies.
  9. Advanced consultation: AMF through working groups, focus groups and meetings engaged in numerous consultations.
  10. Finalization and submission: Upon completion of the consultation process, AMF finalized and submitted the drafts to the government.

AMF achieved results through in-depth analysis, based on benchmarks determined and set during consultations. It introduced best practice through the expertise of its team of consultants. Further, AMF created awareness at both the policy maker and stakeholder levels by including the business community to ensure that the best practices introduced remained part of the work, thus improving the chances for buy-in.

Results of the practice and applications:
Through the program described above, the results were on multiple levels:
  1. Enabled a Palestinian state to be governed by a democratic process and the rule of law;
  2. Promoted transparency and good governance;
  3. Introduced a number of investment measures consistent with international investment agreements;
  4. Increased the number of core commercial laws put into place;
  5. Introduced a number of new policy recommendations for governance-related reform submitted to appropriate government institutions from the public;
  6. Contributed to encourage private sector growth by having well synchronized laws and regulations to implement laws; and
  7. Provided training for public sector lawyers from the various government institutions who participated in the work from beginning to end, thus they received the benefit of hands-on training in a stimulating and advanced setting including:
    • Preparation and drafting of policy papers/notes;
    • Preparation of strategy documents; and
    • Conduct analysis of free trade agreements and prepare recommendations.

On other levels, three of the laws are now in force, four are pending before review by the President’s Office, and the others are under review by the government. Several regulations have been adopted and are in force. The Concession Contract for the Industrial Zones Authority is in use and their strategy is driving their planning. Most of the work produced serves as the foundation for other US-sponsored projects in the Palestinian Authority and constitute part of the preparations, on the legal/regulatory level, for the Palestinian Observer application to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Lessons from the experience:
Government: There was initial government resistance to launch such a large program by a civil society organization. We invested time and energy to advocate the work and succeeded in working out the modalities.

Private Sector: Although private sector organizations have been advocating legal/regulatory reform, many hesitated to cooperate at the outset because they saw our program in competition with their own activities. We brought them on board through partnership agreements and gave them opportunities to take credit.

Legislature: Our Legislative Branch has been suspended since 2006 which has hampered the enactment of legislation. Today this process is temporarily managed by the Council of Ministers and more laws are being adopted.

Montenegro Business Alliance

National Business Agenda

The problem:
The business community in Montenegro was unorganized and not taken into consideration in the decision making process. This practice was developed because laws were adopted without any consultation with the private sector and the voice of the private sector was not heard in the process.

The practice:
After the fall of the Soviet Union, there was the beginning of substantive reform in the former Yugoslavia, but then came two wars in Bosnia and later in Kosovo. The economy and civil society in general suffered a tremendous setback.

In 2001 a group of Montenegrin business leaders founded the Montenegro Business Alliance (MBA). The vision of MBA was to seek sustainable economic growth reform through positive legislative and regulatory reform. This was accomplished by means of a National Business Agenda. It took six months to gather input from business men and women throughout Montenegro to develop the first National Business Agenda for the MBA. Once this agenda was finalized, it was approved by the members of MBA at their annual meeting. A strategy was then developed to take this public policy business agenda to all the major cities in Montenegro for forums with business leaders, members of Parliament, and local government leaders. All the major news outlets, both print and TV, were invited to these events. The agenda was then taken to the appropriate Ministers as well as the Prime Minister. The agenda was finally presented to Members of Parliament. This process was initiated in 2001, and continues through 2011.

Why and how the Montenegro Business Alliance developed this practice:
Many NGOs from Europe and the United States came into Montenegro in 2000 and 2001 with good intentions. Unfortunately, a great deal of legislation was rushed through Parliament and did not lead to economic growth and prosperity for most Montenegro citizens. Many of these laws needed to be repealed or amended. With help from CIPE and their experience working worldwide in developing associations, we decided to start the whole process with the firm, believing that at the end of the process we would have more business representation in issues regarding the business environment and its improvement.

Steps and tips for implementing the practice:
The Montenegro Business Alliance (MBA) surveyed its membership on the existing business environment. This survey was given to the Education and Research Commission who collated the findings, and reduced the issues to seven. A more in-depth analysis of the results was conducted by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (CEED), one of the founding members of MBA. Individual members were interviewed. A first draft of the policy agenda was submitted to the Board of Directors and a few key members. After significant discussion and changes made, the Board approved the agenda. It was then circulated to the membership who unanimously approved the National Business Agenda 2003 at their regular assembly meeting.

MBA mobilized the business community around its National Business Agenda. The agenda consists of seven challenges that shape the future of Montenegro and creates a new platform for economic growth and development and magnifies economic freedom for all. The membership took ownership of this agenda because it surfaced through the Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and Commissions established by the Board of Directors. This was the first time many business people in Montenegro had ever expressed their views publicly. Since the organizational meeting of the MBA in September 2001 with only ten members, the MBA has grown to over 500 dues-paying members in 2011. They now understand that their voice can make a difference and that the business community can accomplish more together than individually.

Results of the practice and applications:
The National Business Agenda had a significant impact on the Government of Montenegro (GoM). Through the agenda, the MBA was able to influence the public policy debate. This was accomplished through an intense advocacy campaign that involved the members in meetings with the Prime Minister and key government officials. MBA members appeared on the TV program Ask the Government. This campaign included policy forums, roundtable discussions, meetings with the media and academia. The theme of the MBA campaign to change the thinking of government officials was "10% For Montenegro". The idea of this campaign was to have a flat tax of 10% across-the-board by 2006. Billboards and ads were taken out in all the major newspapers.

As a result of the initial National Business Agenda (this was the first document of its kind not just in Montenegro, but in all other South East Europe countries) and other National Business Agendas (MBA continued to publish the agenda until today), the Government of Montenegro accepted most of the challenges and put them into its own agenda. Now Montenegro has the lowest corporate rate and personal tax rate in Europe (9%), the unemployment rate dropped from 30 to 12%, the grey economy dropped to 15%, and we have new more flexible labor laws, concession laws, lower local taxes, less procedures for registering business, etc. Also, business has representatives in all major bodies that are dealing with new laws, regulations, concession and other business related issues. That is the greatest victory because before 2003 there were no business representatives involved in the process.

Lessons from the experience:
There are a lot of people in the world who doubt that an individual can change the world. The only acceptable response to such thoughts is what Robert Krieble said to the naysayer who doubted him— to every obstacle that stood between him and his vision of great things that could be and should be: Yes, we can!

The challenges we faced in this process were related to the issue of how to articulate the voices of different businesses and avoid personal and individual benefits for them. We generated the whole membership base representing different industries, sectors and coming from different regions in Montenegro. We also offered solutions to the Government and partnership and did not just criticize them. That and the fact that we are representing major companies in Montenegro was a turning point for Government to realize that as partners we can do a lot together to improve the business environment in Montenegro.

Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA), Nigeria

Public Private Dialogue for Improved Business Environment

The problem:
Business and professional groups in Enugu state were facing problems arising from government policies. The coalition ECOBPA was created after a capacity building workshop with the assistance of CIPE. The Coalition identified 16 problems associated with doing business. The two most prominent problems are multiple taxation and security.
The practice:
The practice is to use a public advocacy campaign to communicate more effectively and results-oriented procedures for streamlining and management of the tax regime and effective security of lives and property.

Situation Analysis:
A situation analysis was done to provide baseline data. To make it more impactful and result oriented, research was carried out to generate data validating the position of the Coalition.

Advocacy Visits:
Direct contact was made with heads and leaders of all concerned institutions with active support by the media. Meetings were held with the Executive Governor of Enugu State, the Speaker, Enugu House of Assembly, Chairmen of Local Governments, Heads of Federal and State tax offices, media houses, Inspector General of Police, Commissioner of Police and Senior Police Officers in Enugu State.

Distribution of Fliers:
Printed materials stating current and desired positions were distributed and supported by oral presentations.

Why and how the Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture developed this practice:
The Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, with support from CIPE, organized a two-day capacity building workshop that brought together business and professional groups in Enugu and led to the formation of the Enugu Coalition of Business and Professional Associations (ECOBPA).

Individual members enumerated their problems and solutions were proffered as to how to resolve them. The Coalition provided an all embracing platform that articulated problems of individual members. Public advocacy was adopted as the most effective and result oriented strategy for any change in harmful government policies with synergy of information and action, success was guaranteed.

Steps and tips for implementing the practice:
Step 1: ECCIMA went through the CIPE Accreditation programme.
Step 2: ECCIMA, with the support of CIPE, organized a capacity building workshop for 32 business and professional groups in Enugu.
Step 3: All the participating groups were asked to list the two most important government policies affecting their business and the 16 most recurring policies were identified. The first 2 out of 16 with the highest points, Multiple Taxation and Security, were selected for the first phase of the advocacy for change campaign.
Step 4: An elected Local Coordinating Committee co-ordinated the activities of the Coalition and another major activity was to set up the Focus/Technical Committee on the two key issues identified in Step 3.
Step 5: The Focus/Technical Committee on Multiple Taxation and Security started work as follows: Carried out surveys to generate data, prepared position papers, produced campaign materials (flyers and position paper) and developed a campaign strategy and programme.
Step 6: All key stakeholders identified were contacted and appointments set up. The campaign team visited the Inspector General of Police, the Governor of Enugu State, Local Government Chairmen, Heads of Federal and State’s Tax Offices, Commissioner of Police in Enugu State, Media Houses and Speaker, Enugu House of Assembly.
Step 7: All activities were supported with full media coverage and each step was evaluated to ensure focus on the objectives of the campaign.

Results of the practice and applications:
  • The practice provided opportunities to gain new knowledge through information sharing.
  • The business community now understands the operating environment better and new relationships have been established leading to more beneficial and less obstructive operations.
  • Establishment of the Coalition has given rise to a very strong and respected voice for all members of the Coalition, individually and collectively.
  • The potency of a well planned advocacy campaign has been fully realized and the ECOBPA model is now being studied to be replicated in others states of the Federation.
  • Openness and transparency in tax administration has become the new order. Open and frank discussions are now possible in the resolution of tax issues.
  • Apart from the business community now being aware of the various federal, state and local government taxes, there is better understanding and compliance. Members are paying the correct taxes in high numbers and this has led to higher revenue for the governments.
  • There is a strong move to pass a law on payable taxes and levies based on the decisions of a roundtable session with legislators in Enugu State. A tax committee has been set up by the Speaker, Enugu House of Assembly to interface regularly with ECOBPA on tax matters and other government policies.
  • Most of the recommendations of the Security Summit presented to the Inspector General of Police have been implemented with positive outcomes.
  • To guarantee success an evaluation and monitoring committee of ECOBPA is constantly reviewing the advocacy programme.

Lessons from the experience:
  1. The key lesson is that there is strength in numbers, combined with knowledge and capacity building.
  2. Generating information through research and data generation, articulation of issues, identifying the correct authorities and developing easy to understand communication materials are crucial to the success of any advocacy campaign.
  3. Developing any society requires a collective effort by all the stakeholders. Governments are responsible for developing and enforcing polices. Constructive engagement through an advocacy campaign is a major weapon in breaking down all misunderstandings.
  4. A public advocacy campaign can be effective when efforts are made to resolve problems through an objective approach that seeks to open all relevant matters affecting key operators and operations.

Success Factors:
  • Selection of members that are knowledgeable, willing and have the desire to effect changes in obstructive and harmful policies.
  • Commitment and strict adherence to the guidelines of a successful advocacy campaign.
  • Evaluation and monitoring for improvement must be properly built into the programme.

Jos Business School, Nigeria

Creating an Enabling Business Environment Through Legislation

The problem:
The obstacles to doing business in the North Central Zone of Nigeria, like most of the country, are enormous. This is further exacerbated by an assortment of public policies, legislations and bureaucratic practices. Consequently, economic development is slow because the private sector is too weak; thus, raising unemployment and poverty levels and adding to the endemic tensions and ethno-communal violence typical of the Zone and Nigeria in general. This is a serious threat to Nigeria’s fledgling democracy.

The practice:
The project was designed to narrow the huge gap between public and private sectors, so as to improve the difficult business environment in the North Central Zone. This is premised on the fact that proactive engagement of policy makers and legislators can help in influence policy and law making.

We began by bringing key business and professional associations in each state under one umbrella to be able to speak with one voice on cross-cutting issues affecting business in their states, so as to drive policy change. The next step was training the legislators, including legislative staff, and the policy makers (executive branch) in each state. The aim of the training was to make them see the imperative for policy reforms that will enhance private sector growth.

After the training sessions, the policy and lawmakers and the business community were brought together in a roundtable dialogue session, during which the business community placed before the policy and lawmakers a specific agenda for change. By doing this, the project has not only narrowed the previously huge gap between the state governments and the business community, it has also made sub-national policy makers aware of the problems of the business community and given the private sector a voice to advocate for change in policy reforms and infrastructure that will ease the cost of doing business.

Why and how Jos Business School developed this practice:
For Nigeria’s democracy to stabilize there is need for robust private sector growth that creates jobs and prosperity to help reduce tensions and regular violence, especially in the North Central Zone. Despite its rich resource endowments and suitable climate for productive agriculture, economic development in this Zone is very low, leading to widespread poverty and youth idleness.

The private sector is weak in part due to the difficult environment. The voice of the business community is not taken into account in policy formulation and the making of laws and regulations. Added to this, state legislators and policy makers lack an understanding of the concerns and needs of the business community. We decided that one way to change this is to build the capacity of the business community to engage policy makers in constructive dialogue on how to remove the obstacles to doing business. Before now, the private sector has never engaged in any organized efforts to reform the business climate in their states, because business associations lack technical and advocacy capacity to articulate their issues and concerns.

Steps and tips for implementing the practice:
The first step was a diagnostic assessment undertaken to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the business associations in each state. This enabled us to identify knowledge gaps and areas for strengthening the capacity, structure and governance of the associations through training and technical assistance. A similar assessment of the six state legislatures enabled us to tailor the training curriculum to the needs of each state.

Business associations underwent two training sessions of four days each, while the legislators, the legislative staff and executive branch staff were separately trained for two days each. While the training of business associations was designed to address organizational weaknesses and equip them with skills for coalition building and advocacy, the legislators and policy makers were trained to make them understand the importance of a thriving private sector, business issues and concerns, and the need for a friendly environment for business in their state. Considering the role of media as a tool for advocacy, media men and women were also trained in business journalism and how they can partner with the business community.

The public–private roundtable dialogue sessions held after the training provided a first-time opportunity for state level policy makers and legislators to meet and hear the concerns of their business communities. The project provided the business associations in each state the opportunity to come under one coalition and develop concrete advocacy plans for tackling specific business constraints and strengthening democratic governance through public policy advocacy. Each state presented separate challenges, but the cross-cutting nature of the problems facing the business community and the fact that associations in the Zone had not come together before to interface with state governments for policy reforms made the project exciting.

Results of the practice and applications:
  1. The coming together of 20 business and professional associations to form coalitions in each state of the Zone that serve as platform to advocate on behalf of the business community for policy reforms.
  2. Built the capacity of legislators and legislative staff to identify laws that are inimical to business and improve the process of law making by seeking the inputs of the private sector in legislation affecting business. For example, the Benue State House of Assembly for the first time since its inception sought and obtained inputs from the Benue Chamber of Commerce before enacting the privatization law in July 2010.
  3. The enhanced capacity of business associations to advocate for changes and improvements in the operating environment enabled the Nasarawa State Rice Millers Association, after being trained in December 2009, to engage the State Governor in February 2010, securing improvements in power and water supply in Lafia which led to increased output of milled rice, additional jobs and income for the rice millers. Also, the advocacy visit to the Police Chief by the Coalition in Nasarawa State led to improvements in security for business premises through enhanced vehicular patrols in Lafia city center, which were not there before.
  4. The coalitions have become veritable institutions in the democratic process in the Zone exemplified by the introduction of a forum in Kogi and Kwara States for interface between the business community and candidates seeking election into governorship offices and enabling the business community to assess the most likely business friendly candidates.
  5. The sub-national approach in the project empowered the local private sector in each state to identify, prioritize, and build consensus around policy issues unique to its environment. This has a better chance of building grass-root support for advocacy.

Lessons from the experience:
  1. The sub-national approach enabled the replication of the project in different states of Nigeria, and to use lessons learnt from one state in another. It can also be replicated in other zones of the country.
  2. Diagnostic assessments were very useful in identifying gaps and knowledge which helped us to tailor the intervention project to specific needs.
  3. Training is a very useful vehicle in building the capacity of the business associations, but it can be effective only if the participants have a minimum level of education (in our case, secondary education) to understand the content of the modules.
  4. Coalitions provided a rare opportunity for the different business and professional associations to come under one umbrella, but they cannot be effective unless there is a democratically elected and committed leadership. The tendency for bigger associations to dominate others or for some few people to hijack coalitions is very high.
  5. For coalitions to become true representatives of the entire business community there is need for each delegate to obtain a letter nominating him/her by the association he/she represents.
  6. Our experience has revealed that active involvement of politically exposed persons in association leadership positions is detrimental to the overall integrity of the association.

Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry

“Salt and Sugar” Approach to Business Advocacy

The problem:
Having more knowledge, information and experience than the Government on public–private dialogue and partnership (PPDP) mechanisms in the global context, MNCCI has initiated PPDP mechanisms at macro- meso- and micro levels, trying to find the appropriate form for each level. Another rationale/motivation is that Mongolia was ranked in 2008 as 48th in the World Bank’s ‘Doing Business Index’ among 178 countries and as 141st in terms of international trade in particular. In other international rankings, such as the Fraser Institute ‘Economic Freedom Index’, the Heritage Foundation’s competitiveness index, etc., Mongolia’s ranking was not good. Therefore the Chamber has decided to use these indexes as benchmarking tools for business advocacy and PPDP mechanisms in the country. No policy-making body in Mongolia has used these indexes in their policy formulation and actions, therefore when the MNCCI introduced them for the first time it raised policy and public awareness.

The practice:
In 2005, MNCCI designed an index called the ‘red tape perception index’ based on surveys among the business community ranking them, measuring government agencies’ services and performance in the business community. The index, being a research and business advocacy tool, had a strong influence and impact on government agencies’ service quality, attitude and behavior towards the business environment. There was both strong resistance and widening recognition – at the policy formulation and implementation level. During the past six years the index has served as a good ‘shaming or salting’ tool, however we realized that there was something missing regarding the ’good side’ of governance. The idea was to design a "Good Governance Award" for those government agencies and policy makers at different levels, which were committed to make a difference in their governance attitude, behavior and actions toward the business community.

At the legislative level:
  • MNCCI is a member of working groups and committees on economic and business related issues at the Parliament.
  • The “Economic Freedom Award” was initiated by MNCCI in 2010 (experience of US Chamber of Commerce) to empower and encourage members of the Parliament in their commitment to lawmaking activities for healthy and strong private sector development. The first ranking was held in 2010 after the autumn session and 26 members of the Parliament received this award.
  • As legal reform is an ongoing process, the MNCCI has initiated the “Cleaning Up Unnecessary Laws and Regulations” TV series talk show, where MPs and business representatives are presented. These TV series have had a positive influence on policymaking and public awareness and are contributing to the development of public-private dialogue.

At the government level:
  • In order to actively participate in drafting policy and law related documents, the “Government & Private Sector Consultative Committee” was established in 2001 and sub-committees were set up at the local government level in 21 provinces.
  • To incorporate private sector thoughts and suggestions into the documents to be discussed by Parliament, the following standing committees were established at the Chamber: By the initiative of the MNCCI, private sector representatives were chosen as advisory board members of relevant ministries and government agencies.
    • Economic Standing Committee
    • Budgetary Standing Committee
    • Social Policy Standing Committee
    • Legal Standing Committee
    • Environment and Rural Development Standing Committee

  • The MNCCI is a member of the National Vocational Education Development Council to develop PPDP mechanism in this field on vocational education and training.

At the corporate level:
  • More than 50 councils were established at the MNCCI according to type of business to conduct surveys of current problems, develop solutions and implementation, and develop the co-operation mechanism with the Government.

Why and how MNCCI developed this practice:
The term “business advocacy” was not familiar to the general public, civil society, and government agencies in Mongolia; however, it is vital to the business community not only in Mongolia, but worldwide. For chambers of commerce worldwide, business advocacy is one of their core functions, although the activities vary among different chambers due to historical, economic and political reasons. The MNCCI, as the main voice of the Mongolian business community, has been pursuing its business advocacy activities since 2005 to create a better business environment, improved governance supportive to those who create jobs, a level playing field where the rules of the game are equal to everybody and an economy free from excessive government red tape.

In 2008, the Chamber conducted several surveys to assess the Mongolian economic and business environment, consumer confidence, business costs, the ‘Red Tape’ perception index, and a business confidence index. Also, MNCCI has published a “Business Advocacy Yearbook” annually since 2005 and “Snapshots of the Mongolian economy and business environment” as a tool for both policymakers and business leaders. All these surveys and studies show that government intervention in the economy is very high whilst often being inefficient, and that there is too much administrative regulation applied to business, thus leading to corruption. The same results are shown by separate studies undertaken by international organizations.

Therefore, the MNCCI has proposed to the Government to adopt and implement a number of private sector development strategies, the core objective of which is to improve Mongolia’s ranking significantly in the World Bank’s Doing Business Index– to be within the top 10 in Asia and top 20 in the world in 2012. In 2010, this proposal was accepted by the Government and included as a core task Business Environment Enabling Reform (BEER).

Steps and tips for implementing the practice:
  • Don’t wait. Initiate, insist, push, take co-leadership as business advocacy is not only the Chamber’s job, it is stakeholders based job.
  • Reveal the champions of change from government circles and encourage them with different tools among the business community using the “Sugar & Salt” approach (the red tape perception index and activities like the Good Governance Award, Economic Freedom Award, etc).
  • Stakeholders are not born, they are created. Therefore focus more on building a stakeholdership equally as building capacity. Involve the business community, especially SMEs, as much as possible. Also involve mass media so that they can be informed in concrete terms and supportive to what your Chamber is doing. Consider government and its action as a kind of imperfect solution model where business voices are never seriously heard. Therefore a “trust and verify” principle is needed to what Government says and does, otherwise your Chamber will become a kind of “good boy” or “good information source” for the government. Never forget that you are building equal partnership, not “assistantship”.
  • Contact directly, without waiting for government intermediation, with international agencies as “country ownership” does not mean “government ownership” but “stakeholders’ ownership”.
  • MNCCI initiated “3 principles of regulation prioritization” as follows and succeeded to include them in the Government resolution No. on BEER Action Plan:
    • 1st principle: Trust the market and market self-regulation first.
    • 2nd principle: Create conditions and empower “quasi-regulations” from MNCCI and the other business associations; for this purpose the MNCCI has drafted a comprehensive document entitled “Delegation of certain functions and activities of the Government (ministries and agencies) to the private sector NGOs. At present it is starting in Mongolia though commitment and consistency are needed from the Government.
    • 3rd principle: Unless the 1st and 2nd principles are proven not to work or inefficient failures, only then government regulation should be adopted but after making sure that it will not create burdens and obstacles and will not be “government failure”.

Results of the practice and applications:
  • Policy on Private Public Partnership was adopted by the Parliament of Mongolia in 2009.
  • Concession Law was adopted in 2010.
  • National strategy in support of private sector development was approved.
  • Private sector voice was reflected in more than 200 laws and regulations.
  • The Government has adopted MNCCI’s initiative and announced 2010 as the year of “Business Environment Reform” by which: MNCCI announced 2011 as “BEER” year reminding the Government that the reform process should be continued.
    • 113 special permits were annulated
    • Issuing of 10 special permits were transferred to related NGOs and private sector
    • Special Commission at the Deputy Prime Minister was set up to transfer some government duties to NGOs and private sector
    • 78 duplicate laws were removed
  • Green economy and green business context was reflected in government policy:
    • Program “Transfer from Brown economy to Green economy”
    • Export development program
    • National tourism program
    • Single Electronic Window national program
    • Organic Mongolia program was initiated and implemented by the Chamber jointly with the Government.
    • Government resolution was adopted on Reflecting NGOs and private sector proposals in state policy and resolutions
    • MOU was signed between MNCCI and government organizations
    • PPP National Forum to be organized in June 2011
    • Sector and nationwide PPDP mechanism started to work.

Lessons from the experience:
The success factors are insistency, initiative, commitment, practice, awareness-raising campaigns from the private sector side, and an individual approach to each and every government ministry or agency by using the “sugar and salt” approach. The “salt” means being strong critics of red tape and excessive regulations by publishing the “Red tape perception index” designed about government agencies policies and activities on the overall business environment, including the trading regime. The “sugar” refers to MNCCI awards and recognizes government agencies and leaders for their performance in the field of good governance, trade facilitation, business environment, etc. Such awards are the “Good Governance Award” and the “Economic Freedom Award” whereby the performance of MP’s is ranked.

PPDP or PPP is a new terminology in Mongolia facing many challenges. Firstly, perception of PPDP at the government and private sector level is inadequate. The private sector, represented by MNCCI and its associates, is more committed and has taken more initiative leading to actions than the Government.

The legal environment influencing action via whole phases of the “product life cycle” from drafting to adopting laws and regulations are strongly needed despite the many difficulties associated with policymaking, culture and technology of the country. Further actions have to be taken to raise public awareness on PPP by publishing handouts and flyers. There is a tendency to ignore PPP among civil servants. Despite the creation of a favorable legal environment, challenges are faced at the implementation level. According to our experience, it is not enough to simply create a legal environment.

Fedesarrollo, Colombia

Policy Papers and Presidential Debates

2nd Place Winner, 2011 CIPE Leading Practices Contest

The problem:
Following a first round election on May 30, Colombians elected a president in a run-off on June 20, 2010. Fedesarrollo developed the program with the purpose of raising the quality of the debate on economic issues during the first round of the presidential campaign and of providing policy proposals to the incoming administration.

The practice:
Fedesarrollo, in association with Corporación Andina de Fomento (CAF), commissioned eight policy-oriented papers to local experts. In parallel, contacts were established with all candidates running for president and it was agreed that they (or their running mates) would participate in three public debates. Ground rules were agreed with the candidates, including: (i) candidates would receive the peer-reviewed papers two weeks prior to each debate. (ii) debates would take place in three cities; (iii) each debate would be co-organized with the local chamber of commerce to ensure strong attendance of local stakeholders; (iv) each debate would have a live audience of two to three thousand persons; (v) there would be live radio, Internet and regional TV coverage; (vi) Fedesarrollo and CAF would choose moderators; (vii) following the election, papers would be collected in a volume to serve as future reference, including to the new administration.

Why and how Fedesarrollo developed this practice:
Fedesarrollo´s mission is to contribute to enhancing the quality of public policy in Colombia. It was thought that holding public debates with candidates running for president around specific policy proposals (dealing with both the “what” and the “how” of policy reform) was a good opportunity to fulfill our mandate, in as much as candidates would have to make public statements regarding very specific policy alternatives on issues deemed relevant by the electorate. Fedesarrollo joined efforts with CAF and three chambers of commerce and the pulling of resources by all partners allowed for the commissioning of papers and the financing of a comprehensive dissemination effort.

Steps and tips for implementing the practice:
The practice was undertaken in four steps. The first was to commission the papers. A key element at this stage was to hold a competitive call for papers in the three topics (labor, taxes and infrastructure) in which several local experts were potentially available. The second was to convince the presidential candidates of the merits of the exercise, something that proved to be surprisingly simple, a testament to Fedesarrollo´s credibility as an independent think tank and more so to Colombia´s tradition of civil and not highly polarized electoral contests. The third step, the organization of the debates, was by far the most complicated. Our success stemmed in great part from having called on CAF and the chambers of commerce to become our partners. While CAF provided the financial support needed to undertake a highly professional communications effort both leading to the debates and during the debates themselves, the chambers of commerce were instrumental in ensuring interest from local stakeholders and with providing indispensable logistical support. In the final step, the papers were collected in a volume following the debates; 800 copies were printed and distributed to government officials of the new administration, members of congress, business associations, academic community, among others. During the electoral campaign, the book was available online as an e-book on Fedesarrollo’s web page.

Results of the practice and applications:
Fedesarrollo’s proposals played a role in shaping the legislative agenda during the second semester of 2010. Several debate topics have become priorities of President Santos´s administration, and this is no coincidence: informal discussion sessions based on the policy papers were held at Fedesarrollo with members of the transition team including the incoming Minister´s of Finance (July 21st), Agriculture (August 2nd) and Planning (August 13th). As Fedesarrollo had proposed in the tax system paper, the government successfully passed a bill last October phasing out the Financial Transaction Tax and eliminating certain income tax exemptions. The new administration also made ample use of the policy paper on labor markets to develop a law aimed at generating formal employment for youngsters and at the formalization of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. As Fedesarrollo had proposed, this law reduces payroll taxes. Following recommendations in the trade policy paper, last November the government issued a decree reducing tariffs in order diminish the anti-export bias and the negative effective protection identified in our paper. The new government also took on board the need to reform the regime governing royalties, much in line with the views that had been expressed in the policy paper dealing with sub-national finances. Finally, recent decisions to devote a large percentage of royalties to financing a public program on science and technology can be traced back to the policy paper on science, technology & innovation.

Lessons from the experience:
The practice we developed in 2010 is replicable in countries where presidential contests are characterized by a reasonable level of civility. In Colombia, candidates in the ideological extremes can be convened to a civilized debate regarding specific public policy issues. In countries where that option is feasible, independent think tanks should venture into the practice, taking into consideration country specificities. The task is highly demanding from an organizational perspective, and bringing partners on board is a prerequisite. Needless to say, the political independence of the organizations involved is critical for the credibility of the exercise. To meaningfully influence policy, an integral part of the practice has to include fluent communication with senior personnel from the incoming administration. To that effect, the policy papers have to be prepared following “best practices”, including attention not only to “what” ought to be reformed, but more importantly to the “how” of the reform process.

Development in Democracy Foundation (DENDE), Paraguay

​Business Forum

The problem:
In 2007, a group of business leaders saw the need to unify the private sector and reach consensus on the broad outlines that public policy should follow to ensure sustainable development within the country. As a result the Business Forum was born to provide a space for discussion and debate.

The practice:
The Business Forum brings together representatives from various business sectors to discuss central issues to the country. In these forums, national and international experts make presentations on the subject at hand and then open the discussion to plenary. In national forums participants craft a publication containing the private sector view on the measures necessary to achieve development. The findings are read to the public during a press conference in the presence of state officials, ambassadors, civil society, and multilateral organizations. The report is distributed among the participants, press, and all interested parties. Inter-institutional meetings are also held in order to establish partnerships aimed at treating current issues as well as forging agreement on a long term vision of development.

Why and how DENDE developed the practice:

DENDE’s mission is to design, influence and promote public policies that allow Paraguay to transit a process of sustainable development. Therefore, it seeks to promote projects that generate dialogue between different sectors (political, social and economic), knowledge sharing and citizenship building. In that sense, it has facilitated the Business Forum, which garnered the support of the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) from 2008 to 2011, and has become a respected and credible space where entrepreneurs, association leaders, unions and Civil Society have sought consensus issues that will later constitute a single proposal for the national development agenda.

Steps and tips for implementing the practice:
Keeping in mind the fragmentation of Paraguayan society, DENDE delegated the responsibility for project management to an Executive Committee with autonomy and independence to set criteria and take action. This committee was representative and was able to gain the confidence and support of sectors traditionally divided by trade unions and sectoral issues. As such the committee succeeded in fostering trust and the ability to work together on issues of national significance.

Outstanding professionals were commissioned to prepare working materials presented in thematic forums, which were later discussed in the Business Forums and other private sector meetings. The practice includes 3 thematic forums, 2 regional forums and 3 large national forums. The consensus proposals from each discussion were distributed via e-mail and given to the authorities and media. Also, a workshop was held to coordinate the different groups working on specific agendas. The discussions from the forums were also published as a set of two books.

  • On average 600 entrepreneurs from various sectors participated actively in the national forums with members of civil society, trade unions, and journalists.
  • More than 120 people participated in the thematic and regional forums.
  • Upwards of 50 unions and associations adhered to the proposals set out by the forums.
  • Achieved consensus on the major issues presented including development, employment, infrastructure, fiscal policy.
  • Invited by the President of the Republic to present proposals to the Cabinet in plenary
  • Parliamentary approval of the Law on Concessions.

Lessons learned:
The involvement of people and institutions from the beginning allowed the project to be implemented in a fragmented society such as Paraguay. While it took a while to reach consensus, projects such as this produce greater impact in the long term.

To build strategic alliances between the private and public sectors and social organizations it is necessary to be aware that their dynamics are different. Understanding their respective logic is key to achieving consensus while giving greater stability to public policy. The Business Forum has acted accordingly, achieving consensus on transcendental issues for the country and installing them on public opinion.

Iraq 2020 Assembly

Reforming Corporate Registration in Iraq

The problem:
For a company to register in Iraq, it would, on paper, take an average of 77 days and cost thousands of dollars. The opportunities for bureaucrats to delay paperwork, request extra documents, and demand bribes for each of the eleven steps are numerous.

The practice:
In order to provide a better environment for business, Iraq 2020 Assembly organized a series of workshops and discussions to evaluate the current registration process and develop recommendations for reform. After engaging a wide range of stakeholders representing business owners, government officials, and civil society, Iraq 2020 developed a policy paper which was then submitted to the secretary general of the Iraqi government. The policy paper calls for a revision of Corporate Law no. 21 of 1997 and the amendment of 2004 that establishes the procedures for corporate registration. In the way of streamlining the process, the paper recommends developing detailed instructions and guidelines to facilitate the process, institutional and individual capacity building of the Corporate Directorate to enforce the registration policies, and the adoption of an electronic registration system.

How and Why the practice was developed:
In a country where business owners in a recent CIPE survey listed corruption as their number one concern and the inconsistent application of rules and laws in the top three, a minimum of two months and thousands of dollars to register a company would likely be viewed as a "best case scenario." Therefore, Iraq 2020 Assembly felt that it was important to tackle this problem and build consensus to provide a better environment for business in Iraq. Achieving this goal will have a positive impact on economic progress and, eventually, the democratic process.

Steps for implementing the practice:
  • Organize two workshops with the goal of discussing the procedural and legal constraints of corporate registration.
    • The first workshop was held in Iraq 2020 Assembly's headquarters to discuss all procedural steps, obstacles, constraints, administrative and technical shortages of the Corporate Directorate, and the sufferings of business owners. The purpose here was to lay out the problems and brainstorm ways they could be addressed
    • The second workshop took place inside parliament with the participation of more than 20 parliamentarians from the economic, financial, and legal committees. During this discussion, participants reviewed Corporate Law no. 21 of 1997 and the 2004 amendment and contemplated new amendments to facilitate a better registration process.
    • All stakeholders from the executive, legislative, and judicial bodies, business unions, local NGOs, international organizations and legal/economic experts participated in both workshops.
  • With the input and consensus of all participants, develop a policy paper that outlines the findings and recommendations of the workshops. Present the paper to the responsible authorities during a press in the attendance of mass media representatives. This helps create awareness and accountability for the initiative.
  • Organize follow-up workshops to discuss the procedural and legislative recommendations of the policy paper and develop a plan of implementation.

After delivery of the policy paper, Iraq 2020 Assembly met with the Minister of Trade and the chairman of the Economic Committee in parliament. Both supported the recommendations and workshops to develop working plans on legislative and procedural aspects. In April 2012, the team visited the Corporate Directorate and the economic committee to deliver a progress report that detailed the steps taken towards implementation of the work plan. At that point, activities to implement electronic documentation were underway, a new website with information about the process had been activated, and the Directorate displayed blueprints for a new and more accessible location. In addition, a letter from parliament had been sent to the Ministers Council requesting information about steps taken to develop a new draft of the corporate law.

Lessons learned and challenges faced:
  • Lack of coordination, ownership, vertical projects and exclusion of other stakeholders has undermined the efforts of many international organizations who worked with the Ministry of Trade over the last few years to improve the registration process; both in terms of cost and time.
  • Building consensus over common goals and objectives with all stakeholders while initiating proper advocacy campaigns through local NGOs is the best possible way to achieve project objectives.
  • As a local NGO, it can be difficult to persuade the executive and legislative bodies to work together with other stakeholders on a project but with clear objectives, good planning, and consensus building the objectives can be met.
  • Adopting the policy paper and translating the recommendations into plans of action by all parties can be a challenge. However, good advocacy campaigning and putting follow-up mechanisms in place can make it a little easier.

Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM)

Building Local Voices for Reform

The problem:
Business associations at the sub-national level did not have the right advocacy skills and never spoke in one voice on issues that affected businesses at the regional level. In light of this, the government never took the business representatives seriously.

The practice:
KAM identified 37 business coalitions in the 6 regions of the country (Nyanza & Western, Coast, Eldoret, Nakuru, Athi-River & Thika) and supported the coalitions to establish a platform of engaging the Government under the regional business Agenda (RBA).

With an aim of developing policy advocacy capacity in the regions, KAM organized two days of advocacy workshops in Mombasa and Nakuru. The advocacy workshops targeted BMO’s representatives taking part in the RBA process from Mombasa, Nakuru, Eldoret and Kisumu. About 156 Members of key business associations were trained in advocacy skills. During the workshop the areas covered included:

  • Role of BMO’s in a Democratic Society & Tools for Effective Advocacy.
  • Components of Effective advocacy- Research and Knowledge Assembly and Communication.
  • Brief on the National Business Agenda and Prime Minister’s Roundtable in Kenya
  • Advocacy and coalition building exercises.

The coalitions identified a total of 32 priority issues that affected businesses within the respective regions, conducted research on the issues and made recommendations. Thereafter, 20 roundtable sessions were held across the country between business and government agencies to address the issues that businesses had raised concerns on. Finally commitment from the government was secured and a total of 1,000 regional business agenda booklets were published highlighting the issues of concern to businesses in the respective regions and the government commitment to finding solutions.

Why KAM developed this practice:
KAM had formerly concentrated its advocacy efforts on the National level at the expenses of the sub-national level, which never had elections to appoint the regional chairman. With this need in mind, KAM established 6 regional offices and created platform legitimacy for our regional offices to advocate effectively at the grassroots level.

With KAM regional chapters having democratic legitimacy, there was a need to have effective advocacy coalitions to influence decision making at the grassroots level. KAM therefore initiated the regional business agenda that brought about business coalitions from the 6 regions to influence policy decision and thus create professional legitimacy.

Steps or tips for implementing this practice:

  1. Identify credible business associations who have proper governance structures
  2. Develop policy and advocacy capacity of associations by conducting training sessions to provide requisite competence skills
  3. Establish Regional Advocacy Committees (RAC) made up of Executives from the participating business associations
  4. Establish Business Advocacy Committees (BAC) made up of chairs from participating business associations
  5. RAC researches identified issues and develops positions on each (issues are delegated to business associations)
  6. Communicate roundtable date to interested Government agencies
  7. BAC approves positions developed
  8. Hold a press conference discussing roundtable outcomes
  9. BAC and RAC meet to agree on plan to monitor implementation
  10. Publish Regional Business Agenda booklet capturing key issues identified, government commitments to resolving issues and the timelines agreed upon
  11. Stay engaged! Recognize organizations when commitments are met and follow-up when they are not

KAM was able to identify and build coalitions with 37 business associations across its 6 regional chapters. A total of 156 participants drawn from the participating coalitions were trained in advocacy skills.

To further enhance advocacy efforts, KAM and two other civil society organizations conducted a local governance study in Kisumu, Nairobi, and Mombasa. The study, facilitated by Global Integrity and CIPE reviewed 177 indicators on local governance and was completed in November 2011, KAM held 3 roundtables with civil society and government to review the results of the study and to compile a series of recommendations for each of the city governments. The local governance study report dissemination in Nairobi, Mombasa & Kisumu was attended by a total of 118 participants. 1000 copies of the local governance study report were published

The study identified a number of existing laws and their implementation gaps i.e. 25 gaps in Kisumu, 14 in Mombasa and 26 in Kisumu. As part of ongoing advocacy efforts, KAM and the business coalitions in the three cities will continue to raise awareness of the study and advocate for local governance reforms.

With the publication of local governance report and devolution publication, the coalitions’ advocacy efforts became more professional & credible.

Lessons learned and challenges faced:

The advocacy initiative became more effective when the business associations started working together as a coalition thus creating legitimacy and earning respect from the government.

A main challenge is that due to the bureaucratic nature of government, decisions were not made during the initial roundtable since the government representative had to go back and consult with the related ministry before a final decision could be made.

Another major challenge was that initially some business associations never had any advocacy skills and therefore believed that advocacy is ‘shouting’ and ‘criticizing’ the government at all cost. This understandably instilled a defensive attitude from Government. After the participating associations attended training sessions, the associations as a coalition started working on the same page and engagements with the government became more constructive. The government started to openly consult the business coalitions on key policy changes.

Coalition building achieved the numbers required to engage government agencies while the training of coalitions created professional legitimacy. In light of effective advocacy resulting in the creation of investment opportunities, the Coast parliamentary group awarded the local KAM chapter with a trophy.

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