By Chinelo Chikelu, Abuja
Following the enhancement of the powers of the ECOWAS Parliament in 2016, the institution has sought the support of international and regional development agencies to meet up with the demands of its legislative functions.
At the two days Donors Conference organized by the institution, the Secretary General, Nelson Magbagbeola said the insufficient community levy has left a financial gap that must be breached to realize the institution’s programmes.
Magbagbeola says the donor conference, the first of its kind will create the much-needed visibility sought by the legislative arm among development partners and correct the misconception that ECOWAS activities ends with the commission.
“There are legal actions for every programme (of ECOWAS). Parliament has to oversee the activities of the executive to ensure the activities of the executive represent the interests of the people. Parliament needs more visibility and at the end of the day, I believe we will have achieved our goals by bringing in more donors to listen to us and know what the parliament is all about,” said the secretary general.
Beyond mobilizing financial and technical support from development partners to achieve ECOWAS Vision 2020, the 2030 SDGs agenda and the Africa Union Agenda 2063 via legislation actions, the Director-general of the National Institute of Legislative Partners (NILS), Prof. Ladi Hamalai, said the parliament must align financing flows and policies with sustainable development priorities.
The conference Hamalai noted would further boost cooperation among ECOWAS member states and the international community.
While enumerating the EU’s sponsored programmes with ECOWAS amounting to billions of euros under its Regional Indicative Programme (RIP), the Ambassador and Head of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ketil Karlsen, said there is “very marginal flexibility in what additional activities it will be able to cover, outside the already indicated programmes.” However, he said the EU will look into wider instruments to articulate its support to the parliament.
Meantime, Chairman, MTN Foundation, Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, urged the parliament to build partnerships with the private sectors to increase awareness of its activities amongst citizens of the region.
“Something needs to be done to let the ordinary citizens across the west African region get to know better what ECOWAS represents, what it can do, and how they themselves can help ECOWAS parliament to achieve these goals,” stated Adeluyi.