October 8, 2019
By Patrick Jaiah Kamara
Members of the ECOWAS bloc last night unanimously appointed Sierra Leone’s Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa, as the Board Chairman of the bank for the period of one year.
ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) started operations in 2004 as the leading regional investment and development financial institution in West Africa and an effective instrument for poverty reduction, wealth creation and job promotion for the well-being of the people in the region.
At the 17th annual general meeting of the Board of Governors of the ECOWAS Bank in Freetown, Sierra Leone, 15 member states agreed for Mr. Saffa to be chief of the board for the next one year.
Just after his appointment, the new Board Chairman of EBID said together with other key players, he would ensure that they embark on more vigorous financial mobilization and that his country without biasness would benefit from it, thus adding that some of the promises in the pipeline for the country would be fast tracked.
He said he would keep pushing for the commitment of member states to get the 30% contribution from the bank, irrespective of the many arrears face by the bloc, thus adding that all members within the bloc with the exception of two are indebted to the bank.
“As any other international organisations, you have to honour your contributions or your share no matter how small it is. But your share gives you weight. As at now, the bulk of the share is contributed by Nigeria and Ghana,” he said.
He appreciated that the meeting was hosted in his country coupled with him being appointed the new chairman, thus noting that he would work tirelessly to ensure that the countries clear their arrears in the bank and mobilise more resources.
Earlier, the minister said for the last eighteen months they have focused largely on achieving fiscal debt sustainability by pursuing a more conservative medium term expenditure path and enhancing domestic resource mobilization to create fiscal space for priority spending.
He said as a result of the robust fiscal reforms undertaken by their administration, total revenues increased to 13.7% of the GDP in 2018 from 12.3% of GDP in 2017, while the fiscal deficit including grants narrowed down significantly from 8.8% of GDP in 2017 to 5.8% GDP in 2018.
The outgone Board Chair, Hon. Amadou Hott, said the 16th session was held in Dakar last year where he was appointed as the chair.
He admitted that the Bank still faces a number of challenges including the non-payment of subscription.
“We need to improve the capital of the bank and also raise funds for the happiness of our population,” he called.
Meanwhile, the same occasion would have seen the election of the president of the Bank, but according to the new Board Chairman, ‘it was not easy to reach a consensus’ which made the current administration to postpone the election to November 17, when members are expected to meet in Togo.