Regulatory Impact Assessment for Developing Countries


Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) is a procedure of methodically identifying and evaluating the projected effects of regulatory schemes, a consistent analytical method like cost-benefit analysis could be used for the purpose. RIA is a process comparative in nature: based on defining the fundamental regulatory purposes and pinpointing the policy mediation which are adept at realizing the same. The “feasible alternatives” should all be considered, to apprise policy-makers of the value and competence of various options and facilitate the best efficient and proficient alternatives to be chosen methodically.

Governments have to work methodically so that the regulation developed and implemented is of eminence, as the overheads of society of inferior regulation are large. Inferior regulation not only escalates compliance costs for business and other groups, but also leads to redundant intricacy and accompanying ambiguity as to regulatory requirements and hence decreases the capability of government to achieve its purposes.


“Better regulation does not always mean less regulation”

- World Bank (2001, p. 72)

The central objective of progress strategy is poverty elimination and the target of regulation strategy in developing countries needs to be to alter private sector comportment in ways that are unswerving with the objective of rising the income levels of the poor. As the effect of fiscal development on poverty lessening is the primary focus, it is largely established that the remunerations of development would not necessarily “trickle down” to impact the income levels of the poor. Hence regulation has a theoretically significant role to play in safeguarding the benefits of more competent market developments are disseminated in agreement with society’s social penchants which suggests a broader choice of purposes for regulation strategy afar than those which are at the centre of the OECD guidelines, namely, “promoting market efficiency” (Kirkpatrick, 2001). If the optimistic and deleterious influences of regulation in the market are to be correctly accepted, a RIA must explicitly address the societal effects of regulatory alterations.

It is unapparent that there is an unblemished agenda of doctrines for application of RIA in these developing countries. In suggesting an agenda for using RIA in developing countries, a speedy select subsists concerning evolving a method which has a comparatively tapered application, entailing the necessity for various methodologies to cover diverse sectors or fields or one which is more wide-ranging in features. A inclusive, unified outline would be less adjusted to the requirements of exact sectors or specific countries, This standard outline needs to be able to develop explicit enactment practices which are more directly pertinent to precise arenas of regulation.

RIA is a tool not only to ensure better laws but also to decrease the costs executed on citizens, business, or governments, especially with respect to regulatory ingenuity. The OECD initiative claims to promote an intelligible method of assessing policies.

A Proposed Agenda For Developing Countries

The initial phase in providing a charter of RIA in a developing economy comprises constructing an operative regulatory supervision organization, which necessitates:

  1. Espousing governing restructuring strategy at the maximum dogmatic heights in developing economies. Restructuring philosophies with the use of RIA must be validated at the uppermost echelons of administration. RIA needs to be reinforced by clear governmental answerability for acquiescence.

  2. Forming unambiguous ideals for regulatory excellence and doctrines of supervisory decision-making within administration. It is significant to assign accountabilities for RIA program essentials sensibly. Outlining accountability for RIA across officials would increase “ownership” of the course and enable its incorporation into decision-making. A principal body within administration is beneficial to act as defender of the RIA process (e.g. the Prime Minister’s Office) and safeguard uniformity, trustworthiness and eminence at the departmental level. Such body wants ample power and abilities to achieve this task effectively (hence the Prime Minister’s Office is preferred).

  3. Familiarizing actual preparation arrangements in regulation philosophy and exercise. It would be essential to provide officials and pertinent civil servants the talents requisite to commence and evaluate superior RIA

  4. Presenting operational data gathering methods. Data value is indispensable and the agenda must elucidate data requirements, quality criteria for satisfactory data and recommend approaches for assembling data at least cost and within the prerequisite time restrictions.

  5. Introducing schemes to observe regulatory enactment. RIA must be assimilated into the policy-making process, commencing at the earliest, so that it can support capacity building and the implementation of RIA across the government machinery; it needs to form an automatic part of the governmental procedure.

  6. Expounding the role of RIA in attaining sustainability and poverty elimination objectives. The exact influence of RIA in relationships of such goals and the adjustment with other goals have to be agreed.

  7. Techniques to confirm that RIA is incorporated into the process of regulatory assessment, at the earliest phase in the scheme of an vital new regulation and anticipated regulatory variations.

  8. Methodical public sessions with impacted benefits needs to be presented to safeguard the broadest conceivable involvement in regulatory decision-making. Interest groups needs to be referred extensively within time and treated even-handedly.

  9. Procedures for evaluating regulatory choices, which includes not regulatory as well. Capitals need to be focused on such regulations where the effects are probable to be the most important and where the projections are best for changing regulatory consequences. RIA needs to be functional to all important policy offers, whether implemented by legislature or executive actions.

  10. Methods to defend enriched regulatory co-ordination inside the administration. The scheme assumed must comprise conveniences for peer assessment within administration, possibly by a devoted “impact assessment bureau”.

  11. Officials must ensure RIA as essential to strategy pronouncements within administration, and not as an ‘add-on’ obligation to be met.

  12. Methodically appraising and apprising current regulations. RIA needs to be applicable to examinations of present as well as new regulations. The results of an RIA must be communicated clearly with tangible consequences and possibilities overtly recognized to certify pellucidity on the necessity for amendment. The use of a conjoint layout for RIA within administration would benefit actual communication.

  13. Decreasing red tape and administration procedures. The cost-benefit principle needs to be assumed for all conventions, even though reasoned approaches can differ as long as RIA recognizes all substantial pros and cons and assimilates qualitative and quantifiable analyses. Compulsory recommendations need to be distributed within administration to make best use of a steady methodology.


RIA is a program which has the impending to advance administration regulatory performs and consequences. RIA has already been functional in many of developing countries, though at a very infant stage of progress. The exposure of RIA, however, in relations of kinds of regulation and amount of regulation schemes taken together, give the impression to diverge extensively between states of administrations. Limited countries seem to be relating RIA unswerving to regulatory suggestions moving social and, economic programs. There has been a universal acknowledgement of the popularity of comprising remunerations along with costs in RIA, approaches of quantification are usually immature and infantile. RIA could back economic advancement and poverty eradication, provided that it is worked appropriately with due conference and deprived of ‘capture’ of the procedure by particular interests. RIAs which merely are to astound foreigners, like “donor agencies”, which approves all regulations of the administrative does not worth the cost and effort. RIA is a strategy which could advance the quality and aftermath of regulation, thereby causing developed fiscal growth and poverty eradication. Simultaneously, RIA provides a hypothetically beneficial means of upholding answerability, democratic lawfulness and hereby eventually a good administration.

Submitted by,

Sourish Roy,

RGSOIPL (IIT Kharagpur).

(Image used for representational purpose only.)

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