March 29, 2021
By Jariatu S. Jusu
Lawmakers in the ECOWAS Parliament have on Thursday, 25 March, 2012, debated and adopted several recommendations aiming at improving the collection of contributions and arrears from member states.
The three-day confab hosted at Bintumani Hotel, Freetown, was aimed at involving all ECOWAS parliamentarians in monitoring the application of the Protocol with the view to guaranteeing adequate recovery of the product, which is needed for financing activities of the bloc.
The protocol is intended to guide the collection and generation of the much needed revenue that would enable ECOWAS to sufficiently finance its institutions and projects in the sub-region.
The recommendations adopted at the end of the confab include the challenges arising from COVID-19 that have negatively impacted the mobilization, the collection of revenue from the Community Levy and cognizant of the need to mobilize resources required to finance the Community Budget.
According to the protocol, ECOWAS lawmakers must capitalize on the provision of the rules of procedure in their respective countries and engage the Ministries in charge of Community Levy to discuss not only recoveries, but also effective implementation of the protocol.
The protocol notes that the issue of raising awareness and advocacy should be undertaken by Members of ECOWAS Parliament in their respective States and national delegations should monitor the recovery of the products and actual disbursement of the amounts recovered in their countries and report to Parliament at the next Session of ECOWAS.
Meanwhile, the issues around sanctions for non-compliance are left to be determined by the Authority of Heads of State and Government.
The ECOWAS Revised Treaty published by the ECOWAS Commission in 1993, makes for Financial Provisions.
In his closing remarks, Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Hon. Sidie Mohamed Tunis said the low remittance of community levy by member states a is challenged to ECOWAS as it hindered its operations.
He said they must ensure in finding ways for their different countries to adhere to the implementation of the protocols.
He added that the benefit derived from the seminar is enormous and that they have achieved the desired result.
He said the seminar was intended to give Members of ECOWAS Parliament a clear role regarding the monitoring and implementation of the dictates of the Protocol that are relevant to the Community Levy regarding the collection of 0.5% of import duty from countries outside the sub-region.
He said the ECOWAS will do a follow-up on countries in arrears of contributions and encourage others to improve on collection and remittance to the ECOWAS Commission, thus adding that the protocol would enable ECOWAS to effectively and efficiently finance its institutions and projects within the sub-region.
Prior to the closure of the first parliamentary seminar in 2021, Hon. Tunis commended President Bio for allowing ECOWAS to hold the first session in the country.
The seminar attracted Speaker of the Sierra Leone Parliament, Ministers of Government, Members of Sierra Leone and ECOWAS Parliaments, Commissioner of Finance, ECOWAS Commission, the press, ECOWAS Secretariat and other support staff.
The ECOWAS Parliament is now set to hold its median Extraordinary Session in Freetown commencing today (Monday 29th, March) to 2nd April 2021.