The ECOWAS Parliament is seeking to enhance its relations with local and international development partners to support its legislative activities.
This formed part of the agenda of its Donors’ Conference in Abuja on Thursday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that this is the parliament’s first donors’ conference aimed at seeking technical and financial support following the enhancement of its legislative powers in 2016.
The Secretary-General of the ECOWAS Parliament, Mr Nelson Magbagbeola said that the conference would enhance the visibility of the parliament and correct the notion that ECOWAS activities end with the commission.
“”We want them to know that ECOWAS is not only ECOWAS Commission because there is that misconception.
“”There are three arms of ECOWAS: ECOWAS Commission, ECOWAS Parliament and the ECOWAS Court of Justice.
““There are legislative actions on these programmes of the community and, one important element of our Supplementary Act is the oversight function.
“”Parliament has powers to oversee all programme implementing bodies of ECOWAS, including the commission; that is why it needs to be empowered in order to deliver its responsibilities.
“”What we need is to enhance the visibility of the parliament. At the end of the day, I believe we will achieve our goals by bringing in more donors to listen to us and know what the parliament is all about.”
The secretary-general further said that the legislative activities of the parliament were carried out in the interest of the citizens in the sub-region.
He said that the parliament’s oversight functions were in line with the Supplementary Act adopted in 2016 to strengthen its functions.
In her remarks, Director-General of Nigeria Institute of Legislative Studies (NILS), Prof. Ladi Hamalai said that it was important for member states to align the financial policies of the sub-region with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Hamalai said that the conference would not only seek to source for funds but also for ways to utilise funds available.
““International public finance must complement domestic resources; hence, donor funds remain critical especially now that the capacity to raise domestic resources is limited.
““Intensified capacity development will not only lead to efficiency in use of scarce resources but also improve knowledge and skills and performance of public institutions in service delivery and policy development,” she said.
Hamalai emphasised that the conference would further boost cooperation among member states and the international community.
Also, Mr Ketil Karlsen, Ambassador/ Head of European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, said that the EU’s commitment to the West African sub-region was contained in its Regional Indicative Programme (RIP).
“RIP covers activities from 2014 to 2020 with an indicative allocation of over one billion euros for a number of priority areas including peace, security and regional stability.”
Karlsen said that the RIP was aimed at strengthening regional mechanisms to address peace, security and stability in the sub-region.
He further assured of the EU’s commitment to supporting the activities of the parliament.
Chairman MTN Foundation, Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi said it had begun partnering with the parliament to promote good governance in the sub-region.
Adelusi-Adeluyi urged the parliament to also enhance its partnership with the private sector to sensitise citizens to its activities.
“”Something needs to be done to let ordinary citizens across the West African region get to know better what ECOWAS represents, what it can do, and how they can also help the parliament to achieve its goals.”
NAN reports that the parliament was established under Articles 6 and 13 of the ECOWAS Revised Treaty of 1993.
The Protocol relating to the Parliament was signed in 1994 and entered into force in 2002. (NAN)