The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) – through its public-private partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Standards Alliance – organized a four-week training series on "Good Regulatory Practices for Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) Teams in Government Ministries" in collaboration with the Zambian Business Regulatory Review Agency (BRRA). The four-week workshop series targeting 92 government officials from 23 Zambian ministries was conducted in response to a request from the BRRA, following Standards Alliance sensitization workshops and a preliminary assessment of RIA implementation in Zambia in 2019.
Based on the assessments, a need was identified for additional capacity building to strengthen the implementation and institutionalization of RIA across public bodies and regulatory agencies in Zambia. The workshop series took place remotely, with the first and second cohort of officials attending four-day trainings on September 21 – October 2, 2020, and the third and fourth group of officials attending on October 13 – 23, 2020. U.S. experts joined remotely via Cisco WebEx while Zambian participants joined in Lusaka in compliance with social distancing guidelines and COVID-19 restrictions in Zambia.
The four trainings were designed to promote best practices in the development of RIA, a decision-making tool used to appraise the potential impacts of new and existing regulations or policy options on the local business environment and foreign investments. The workshops also provided systematic training on the key steps for performing RIA and highlighted strategies for participants to use as they lead their ministries and colleagues in collecting data and drafting RIA reports. The trainings included case studies, group exercises, quizzes, and pre-recorded videos, which were delivered by U.S. experts: Nathan Frey, principal, Regulatory Strategies and Solutions Group (RSS Group) and former official at the Office of Management and Budget Office of Internal Regulatory Affairs (OMB OIRA); Jason Ighani, co-founder, Kite Global; and Brandon de Bruhl, adjunct faculty, University of Southern California and former OMB OIRA official. Each four-day training included between 20 and 25 participants, for a total of 92 trainees over four weeks and included participants from a cross-section of Zambian ministries, including the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Justice, amongst others.
The training featured various presentations and interactive sessions to help participants gain a firm understanding of RIA concepts and international best practices in performing RIAs in their roles as Zambian regulators. Targeted group exercises provided hands-on guidance and opportunities to critically analyze draft RIA reports, which were used as demonstrative case studies. These sessions included practical exercises and tasks geared at showing participants how to write and structure RIA reports, questions to ask during public consultation, ways to gather information from all relevant stakeholders, and methods to effectively utilize cost-benefit and cost-effective analysis tools.
In a survey completed by workshop participants, more than 75 percent of respondents agreed that their understanding of key core elements of effective RIA teams had greatly improved following their training. Additionally, all respondents noted that their organizations would be taking immediate steps to train and implement RIA teams within their ministries following the workshop. All participants also expressed interest in participating in other trainings on regulatory review and assessment, particularly focusing on quantitative and qualitative RIA methods, policy planning, and analysis.
HISTORY OF COLLABORATION
Over the past 3 years, the Standards Alliance has worked in partnership with the Business Regulatory Review Agency (BBRA) to design workshops and trainings that promote the concept of RIA as a decision-making tool for government regulators in Zambia. These trainings have focused on building a high-level awareness of RIA and highlighting the value and importance of appraising the potential impacts of new and existing regulations or policy options that reduce the compliance costs of doing business and the potential negative impacts to trade and investment in Zambia.
In April 2017, ANSI and BRRA held an awareness-building event to introduce the fundamental concepts of RIA as well as to highlight the value and importance of well-developed regulation to support trade and investment. Building on successes from the first activity, ANSI and BRRA hosted a three-day training for regulators in July 2018. The event promoted the use of RIA as an essential component of Zambia's regulatory infrastructure and provided the country's first practical training for conducting RIA. BRRA and MCTI released the Regulatory Impact Assessment Handbook for Regulatory Agencies and Public Bodies in Zambia during the training.
The handbook, which was developed by BRRA, is a blueprint for Zambian public bodies and regulatory agencies to use as a guide when undertaking RIA in the policy and legislation-making process. The RIA handbook features five chapters and provides a step-by-step guide on how to effectively conduct RIA. The overriding aim of the RIA handbook is to ensure that any regulatory agency conducting an RIA does so in accordance with the Business Regulatory Act, 2014, and the Standards and Guidelines issued by BRRA.
Since then, Zambia has made significant strides in implementing many of the business regulatory reforms mandated by the 2014 Business Regulatory Reform Act and subsequent 2018 Amendments. However, government-wide implementation of RIA has been slow to progress, largely due to the lack of technical and institutional capacity among public bodies and regulatory agencies. Inconsistent application of RIA and inadequate RIA quality has limited its usefulness as a regulatory decision-making tool in Zambia. This project will improve the capacity of the Zambia government to achieve systematic, methodologically consistent, and quality implementation of RIA through a workforce training and skills development program for government officials within public bodies and regulatory agencies that are charged with carrying out RIA.
For more information on the Standards Alliance and standards activities in Southern Africa, visit standardsalliance.ansi.org.
More Information on past RIA workshops is available below:
Evidence-Based Regulatory Decision Marking: the role of RIA and Public Consultation (July 19 – 20, 2018)
Workshop on Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA), Risk Analysis and Public Consultation (April 24 – 25, 2017)