Government all over the world has always existed to give direction, meaning, organization, management and leadership to the affairs of both human and material resources. In Nigeria for instance there is the philosophy and practice of capitalist economy. This socio-economic and political system allows and promotes individualistic ownership of means of production and distribution of goods and services.
It is in the light of the apparent overzealous tendencies associated with capitalist economy and the insatiable nature of man that government is empowered by the country’s constitution to deal appropriately with matters and issues relating to business operations in the overall interest of the general public. It is by the facts of the above reasons that this study seeks to identify the ways and means through which government conduct the regulation and promotion of business enterprises in Nigeria vis-à-vis the wellbeing of the entire citizenry. The study therefore employs the use of stakeholder theory to adumbrate the reasons for government regulation of business enterprises. The results showed that government deploys the constitutional powers at her disposal to effectuate the smooth operations of business enterprises within her jurisdiction. Findings however reveal that the capitalists and merchants are capable of perpetrating evil machination and ungodly and unethical practices if left unchecked hence the strong recommendation that government should not rest on its oasis in her quest for a healthy and productive business atmosphere.          

            It is instructive to state here categorically loud and clear that right from creation down to the present day, there has always been regulation of human activities. This is clearly demonstrated in the Holy Book, the Bible in Genesis chapter three verses one to seven Genesis 3:1-7. Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, you shall not eat of every tree of the garden”? And the woman said to the serpent, “we may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, god has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.” Then the serpent said to the woman, you will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God knowing good and evil. So when the woman saw the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruits and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate, then the eyes of both of them were opened and they knew that they were naked; and they served fig leaves together and made themselves covering. From the above quotations from the Bible it becomes crystal clear that if man could flout the regulation of God who is the creator and Supreme Being, then man can spring surprises even in business transaction or dealings. In the same vein, the contemporary society is replete with stories of bizarre, wicked and atrocious behaviours so much so that man inhumanity to man has become rule of the thumb rather than the exception. Therefore, government in recognition of the above problem enjoys the constitutional powers to deploy all the resources at its disposal to provide, promote and protect business enterprises, operators, customers, consumers, suppliers, competitors and indeed all the stakeholders.

            Our society today is awash with stories of unethical conducts and practices of individuals as well as groups or corporate organization who carry out their business activities in a very despicable and incredible manner devoid of decorum, fear of God, equity, good conscience and natural justice as it were.
            In spite of all the instrumentalities and various agencies government has but in place to enforce smooth and healthy business practices in the country. Our national dailies, radio and television programmes have always inundated us with bizarre stories of what happen in the different sectors of our Nigerian business world. These range from fake and adulterated products, expired goods, embezzlement, forgery, environmental pollution, misappropriation of public fund, slave labour, casualization of staff/ workers, denial of one’s inalienable rights, bribery and corruption, brutalization, kidnapping, litigation and even destruction of peoples lives and properties and so on. These crimes are perpetrated across the length and breadth of Nigeria with impunity.

            Government has been variously defined by scholars, writers, authors based on their understanding, background, orientation and training and so on.
            Eyiyere in Ile 2002:3 argues that the word “Government” refers to the whole machinery or system through which a country is ruled. He maintains that such a system usually develops out of people’s historical experience, culture, customs or common practice. Sometimes the term government is used to refer to a group of people who hold and wield the instrument of power with which a given country is ruled or governed as the case many be.
            Similarity, Jordan (1985:1), defines government as the management, direction and control of the public affairs of a given social group or unit. It is further argued that government is at once a process, a structure and idea.
            Invariably, as a process, government is the art of process of governing. Then as a structure, it is viewed as an organization or institution of the state. Finally, as an idea, government is perceived as an academic field of study or a discipline.
            In another instance, government could mean a group of people that governs a community or unit as it were. The group is usually charged with the responsibilities of setting and administering public policy and exercising executive, political power through customs, institutions and laws within a state. Government could also be seen as an institution that makes and enforces public policies for and on a society. The public policies have to do with the things government wants to do in its involvement with society. And for government to make and enforce the said public policy, it must possess the instrument called power which could be in the form of executive power, legislative power, and judicial power respectively. 
            Also contributing to knowledge, Ezezue, (2011:154-155) opines that, “there are many laws that affect business and marketing communications”. She went further to state that the UK television advertising alone has at least 56 statutes and regulations which affect business enterprises. Some of those statutes and regulations include but not limited to :1987 consumer protection act, sex discrimination Acts 1975 and 1986, the Race Relation Act, 1976, the telecommunication Act 1988; here in Nigeria, the following measures were put in place to regulate business activities: Business Name Act 1961, Exchange Control Act, 1962, immigration Act 1963, the companies and allied matters decree 1968 (CAMA, 1990)’ the industrial training fund (ITF) decree 1971, price control decree 1979; patent and design decree 1979; Nigerian Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) Act 1971; the Nigerian enterprises promotion decree (NEDP 1973 and 1989; National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), National Agency for Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Acts of 1997 and 1989 respectively, and a lost of others. All these and other laws and regulation were put in place the government of Nigeria to ensure protection of lives and properties of citizens through healthy and ethnical business practices obtainable in the global business world. 

STAKEHOLDER THEORY                    
            This is a theory that was propounded by R. Edward Freeman in his book titled strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach. This theory hinges on organizational management and business ethics that addresses morals and values in managing an organization. In other words, the theory identifies and models the groups which are stakeholders of a corporation and both describes and recommends methods by which management can give due regard and respect to the interests of those groups. Simply put, it attempts to address the principle of who or what really counts.
            Therefore, the stakeholder theory argues that there are other parties involved including but not limited to employees, customers, suppliers, financiers, communities, governmental bodies, political groups, trade associations, as well as unions etc.
Government adopts different measures and approaches in the regulations of business enterprises which includes but not limited to the followings:
a.         Permission: Most businesses need to register with the state government to operate. Corporations need a charter, and other forms of businesses, such as limited liability companies or partnerships, need other forms of registration. The function of this registration is usually to define the financial liability the owners of the company have. It limits their risk to the amount they have invested in that particular organization. Registration also allows the government to monitor companies to execute its other functions in the business world.
b.         Contract enforcement: Business contract with other business, these contracts may be complex, such as mergers, or they may be as simple as a warranty on supplies purchased. The government enforces these contracts. Companies bring one another to court just as individuals do. An oral agreement can constitution a contract, but usually only a written agreement is provable in court of law. If one party fails or refuses to meet its obligation under a contract, a company will turn to the legal system for enforcement.
c.         Consumer Protection: The Government’s role in business includes protecting the consumer or customer. When a vendor fails to honour the guarantee, the purchaser has recourse in the law. Likewise when a product causes harm to an individual, the courts may hold the vendor or manufacturer responsible. Labeling is another requirement the government imposes on marketers.
            Many foods, for example must display nutritional content on the packaging.
d.         Employee Protection: Here, many state and federal agencies work to protect the rights of employees. In some countries, the occupational health and safety administration becomes an agency under the labour department. Its mission is to ensure a safe and healthful work environment. While the equal opportunity commission protects employees from discrimination in the case of Nigeria we have the public complains commission otherwise known as (Ombudsman).
e.         Environmental Protection: It is said that when a marketing transaction impacts a third party- others besides the marketer and purchaser the effect is called externality. The third party is often the environment. Thus it is the role of government to regulate industry and thereby protect the public from environmental externalities. Whether the government is effective in this role or not is a different issue for another day.  
f.          Taxation: Governments at all levels tax businesses and the resulting revenue is an important part of government budgets. Some revenue is taxed at the corporate level then taxed as personal income when distributed as dividends. This is no way inappropriate, since it balances the tax burden between the company and individual and allows the government to tax more equitably.
g.         Investor Protection: Government mandates that companies make financial information public, thereby protecting the rights of investors and facitating further investment. This is generally done through with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
h.         Promoting Entrepreneurs: This has to do with the people, who seed, grow and renew businesses
i.          Encouraging innovation and technology: This enables and allows growth industries to blossom.
j.          Unleashing private capital: Here government finances all stages of business formation.
Connecting to global markets: this is done fully capture rapidly expanding opportunities.
Cultivating industry clusters: to help businesses develop through critical mass of education training, finance and marketing.

THE PRIMARY FUNCTIONS OF GOVERNMENT                                            
            It is a well known fact that government all over the world wields environs powers and even to the extent of possessing the monopoly of instrument of coactions or what the political pundits would refer to as the naked power.
            However, beyond every other thing Ile, (2002:7-10) outlines the functions of modern government to include but not limited to the following:
(i)        Protection of lives and property: the constitution of every   country bestows on its government the duty to ensure adequate           protection      of lives and property of her citizens. The police force             army and law courts are the agencies directly charged with     responsibilities of ensuring the protection of lives and property of           not only the citizens            but also those living in the country.
(ii)       Provision of social Amenities: It is the duty of government to           provide her citizens with social amenities such as good roads,        electricity, pipe borne water hospitals, schools and even recreation      centres among other things to the citizens especially from the            taxes the citizens pay.
(iii)     Provision of Employment Opportunities: Again, it is the duty of     the government to provide employment opportunities to the teeming youths and other citizens. In some advanced countries,        the unemployed people are even paid certain allowances or          stipend to       keep them.
(iv)      Implementation of Law: It is also the duty of government to             implement or execute the law. This is done by government through        the executive arm of government.
(v)       Interpretation of Law: Another function of government is to   interpret the law and punish the offenders adequately.
(v)       Maintenance of order, Justice and Morality: It is also the duty of the government to maintain order, justice, and morality. It is    imperative     that human conduct in every society be controlled by the             government through law so that no member of society will     suffer injury from other members of society or after receiving    injury from    others, go without remedy.
(vi)      Defence of the Country: Government established and equipped standing armed forces in order to defend the country from external aggression or internal insurrection and to maintain the territorial             integrity of the state. 
(viii)   Law making: it is the function of the government to make good        laws for the good governance of the country. This is usually done          by the government of the day through the legislative arm of             government.
(ix)      Maintaining External Relations: Government has the            responsibility of establishing and maintaining external relations       with friendly nations in order for this to be achieved and             reasonably too,         embassies and high commissions are       established and maintained            in those countries and ambassadors and high commissioners are           appointed to take charge of them.             Government equal formulate foreign policies to suite the        interest           of the nation.
(x)       Regulation of Economic Activities: Government has the       responsibility of regulating economic activities in order to protect           the economy, ensuring economic growth and economic             development through careful economic planning and execution,       maintaining stable economic atmosphere etc. The Government, in        fact, do establish some regulating agencies and ministries such as        the central bank of Nigeria, the ministries of finance and that of        economic planning etc to help in the performance of this force.           
(xi)      Orderly transfer of authority or power: It is the functions of the    Government to orderly transfer authority from one Government to         another. 

            It is a well known fact that every responsible and responsive government has the primary duty of safeguarding or protecting lives and property of its citizens.
            It is also pertinent and worthy of note to state that, government goes about the protection of lives and property in different ways and means. Specifically, government regulation of business activities are done through the various agencies charged with responsibilities of overseeing the affairs of the business enterprises within their area of jurisdiction or coverage. For instance, in Nigeria there are agencies such as the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) National Agencies for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) National Communication Commission (NCC). National Electricity Regularly Commission (NERC) Nigeria Consumer Protection Council (NEPC)  Etc. Beyond the protection of lives and property of citizens, government also regulates business in order to generate revenue for developmental projects and to also conform with the international best practices. Some plausible recommendations were also presented for reference purposes.      

            Arising from the study and its findings. The following recommendations were made.
1.         Government should continue to play its major roles of regulating      the entrance, operations and exit of business enterprise in Nigeria.   
2.         Similarly, all the agencies of government saddled with the      responsibilities of monitoring the activities of operators should be   gives sufficient powers to prosecute erring operators.   
3.         the judiciary should be alive to its duties of punishing offenders       without fear of favour.
4.         The legislature on its part should enact laws that give a level play     ground to those wishing into business.
5.         Finally, those aspiring to venture into business, should be      thoroughly screened, oriented and trained on the international best    practice and ethical code of conduct among other things. 

Ezezue, B. O. (2011) Business Communication and some Basic         Issues in Management, Enugu; Precision Publishers Limited.

Freeman R. Edward (1984). Strategic Management: A Stakeholder    Approach, Boston Pitman.


Ile, N. M. (2002) Government Business and Labour Management      Relations in Nigeria, Enugu, Otuson Nigeria Limited.

Jordan Robert S. (1985), Government and Power in West Africa,       Benin City; Ethiopic Publishing Corporation.
Nelson Thomas Inc (1985) the Holy Bible, New King James Version,           USA; National Publishing Company.
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