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ECOWAS pledges to address regional challenges

The Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament, Sidie Tunis, has said that the 2022 Budget of the regional body is to address the challenges of the people in the region.

At the opening of the second Ordinary Session of the parliament in Abuja, Dr Tunis said the session tagged “Budget Session” provides the opportunity, in accordance with the provisions of the Supplementary Act of the ECOWAS Parliament, for the regional body to specifically ensure that estimates are directed towards programmes that address the needs of the people.

The 20,401,258 Unit of Account budget aims to prioritise activities that are of great benefit to the citizens of the Community.

According to the Speaker, in fulfilment of its statutory responsibility, parliamentarians are expected to render opinions, including where necessary, proposals for the amendment to the draft Community Budget.

He referred to Article 17.2a, which states that “after the consideration of the Budget by the Administration and Finance Committee (AFC), the report of the AFC on the Budget shall be presented to Parliament during the Parliamentary Budget Session.”

In fulfilment of this statutory responsibility, Dr Tunis said “we are expected to render an opinion, including where necessary, proposals for the amendment to the draft Community Budget.”

Dr Tunis also gave an assurance that the ECOWAS Parliament would ensure that the allocation of resources reflects real priorities.

“It is also not enough that the budget surmounts the immediate threats brought upon us by COVID-19, it should also advance efforts to make progress on other fronts and priorities, which our region continues to value: democracy, rule of law, peace and conflict resolution, the fight against terrorism, poverty reduction and climate change,” Dr Tunis said.

“Peace in our region can only be consolidated and sustained if we bring development to the people,” the lawmaker added.

Dr Tunis hinted that in the exercise of their oversight responsibility as enshrined in the supplementary Act, the Community Parliament would be seeking for greater accountability and transparency in the execution of the budget.

The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean -Claude Kasi Brou, in his remark, called on the members of Parliament to examine the draft budget and take into account operational costs of the institutions.

He also presented the state of the Community Report to the members of the ECOWAS Parliament as one of the major activities of the second ordinary session of the Parliament for 2021.

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Reporting by Idara Ukpayang : Editing by Tola Oguneye and Tony Okerafor