By Lizzy Okoji
The ECOWAS Commission has appealed the consideration of ECOWAS Parliament in the budgetary allocation for humanitarian affairs in the 2023 Community draft budget to tackle the needs of 38 million displaced Persons in the sub-region.
Prof. Nazifi Darma, Director Internal Services, ECOWAS Commission made the appeal on behalf of the Commission on Thursday during the Budget Session of the 2022 2nd Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Budget Session of the Parliament is holding at the end of the ECOWAS Administration and Finance Committee (AFC) meeting, to be preceded by the Parliament’s 2022 2nd Ordinary Session on Nov. 28.
The AFC brought before the Parliament the 2023 Community Draft budget to the tune of over Four Hundred and Twenty-Seven Million (427,979,594) Unit of Account (UA) for consideration.
Darma said that the West African sub-region is plunged in a huge humanitarian crisis which have affected 38 million people who account for 10 per cent of the sub-region.
He said that an increased budget allocation to humanitarian affairs and innovative ways of sourcing external funding is required to address the menace.
“We have key fundamental issues that and how we can put in strategies to addressing them.
“Innovative strategies must be put in place to attract external funding in order to consolidate on the Sustainable programmes set for ourselves for the community.
“Presently as we are sitting down comfortably, we know that in our various cities, drinking water is a luxury.
“We have over 38 million IDPS that are suffering from, Crises, insurgencies, from lack of, Mr Speaker, Members of Parliament, these 38 million people every day is a struggle to survive.
“I am using this opportunity to appeal to you that we can put additional resources for humanitarian affairs over what we have put last year, but the reality is that, that money is so insignificant.
“Mr Speaker and Members of Parliament because of our silos capacity currently, we are supposed to have 400,000 tonnes of foodstuff in order to cater to the needs of the victims of humanitarian crisis.
“Currently, we do not have up to 10,000. About 38 million people that are Internally displaced, suffering from hunger, refugees, that are also suffering from poverty.
Darma said that to address efficiently address the humanitarian challenges in the sub-region, the ECOWAS Commission is making commitments to making more savings and utilising every resources judiciously.
He said that the resources will be put into programmes and projects that will bring accelerated economic development to Member States and opportunities for the youths who make 60 per cent of the population.
“This underscores the fact that our various institutions beginning from the Commission must be able to utilize the resources efficiently.
“Mr Speaker, Members of Parliament, I am putting in place before you whatever savings we are ready to make, from institutional reforms that were initiated in the Commission.
“We promise to bring a supplementary budget possibly in other to put those resources in key areas in the budget.
“According to the Commissioner for Agriculture and Economic Affairs, there are a lot of programmes that can facilitate sustainable development and prosperity for our people.
“I am appealing to you, Mr Speaker, to give support to those projects and programmes consideration because without accelerated economic prosperity, there will be political instability and crises.
“And we know that in some of our countries, the insurgency, the political instability, the displacements are simply happening because there are limited opportunities for young people.
“And if you look at the demography of West Africa, more than 60 per cent of the population is made up of young people that are 35 years and below, and these are people that are economically vibrant and are looking for opportunities.
“Support policies and programmes will go a long way in opening up opportunities and entrepreneurship development which in turn guarantee accelerated economic development, prosperity, and income generation.
“This will automatically transform into better political stability,” Darma said. (NAN)