ECOWAS Presidents adopt $2.3bn budget to counter regional insecurity




ECOWAS Heads of State and Governments have adopted the 2020 to 2024 Action Plan to eradicate terrorism in the sub-region with a budget of 2.3 billion dollars.

The Authority adopted the budget implementation during its 56th  Ordinary Session held in Abuja following the call for the urgent need to address the recurring terrorist attacks in Member States .

This was made known in the final communiqué read by Mr Jean-Claude Brou, President of the ECOWAS Commission and made available to the Media on Monday in Abuja.

According to the communiqué, the Authority agreed that out of the 2.3 billion dollars, One billion dollars would be financed from internal funds.

It stated that the Authority expressed grave concern at the resurgence of terrorist attacks, targeted at the defence, security forces, civilians and the social and economic structures and places of worship.

The ECOWAS Presidents reaffirmed their determination to leave no stone unturned in eradicating terrorism in the region, expressing solidarity with the people and governments of affected Member States.

“The money is intended for the provision of equipment to support the defence forces of Member States, training of relevant bodies and effective intelligence sharing.

“The Authority instructs the President of the Commission to immediately set up an inclusive and transparent mechanism to manage funds mobilized for the implementation of the action plan.

“The Authority further instructs the President of the Commission to ensure the speedy disbursement of the resources mobilized in other to respond efficiently to the urgent situation.

“The Authority decides to focus efforts in 2020 and 2021, on the implementation of activities expected to quickly contribute in checking the increase and spread of terrorist attacks.

“The Authority urges international partners to provide substantial support for the implementation of the action plan.

“To this end, it instructs the President of the Commission to organise as soon as possible a donor conference to mobilise funds, in addition to the internal resources identified by the Authority.

“The Authority instructs the President to build strong partnerships with all stakeholders in counter terrorism in the region. The Partnership should be built on complimentary initiatives to avoid duplication of efforts,” the communiqué stated.

According to the Communique, on the creation of the monetary union, the Authority commended the Ministerial Committee for the progress made with the implementation of the ECOWAS Single Currency Programme.

The Authority while welcoming the improved macroeconomic convergence outlook in 2019 urged Member States to continue efforts to comply with the convergence criteria.

The Heads of States and Government adopted “EC” as symbol for the single currency, adopting the name “ Central Bank of West Africa (CBWA)” as the name of the ECOWAS Central Bank.

On the free movement of persons and goods, the Authority reinterates the need for all Member States to fully implement the Protocol on Free Movement as it relates to the rights of entry, residence and establishment.

The Authority also took note of the challenges of the implementation of the protocol of Free Movement of  Persons and Goods arising from the partial closure of the Nigerian land borders to goods.

They however urged the Tripitite Ministerial Committee comprising Benin, Niger and Nigeria to quickly conclude its work in other to resolve all existing border issues.

Contained in the communiqué, the Heads of States and Government also encouraged the ECOWAS Commission, in collaboration with Member States to step up efforts for the implementation of regional infrastructure project.

This they explained was with a view to opening up some countries, ensuring seamless intra-community trade and improving security.

The Authority also took note of the request of support of Member States applying for positions in International and Regional organizations and vacancies reserved for ECOWAS Member States at the United Nations in 2020.

According to the communiqué, to this end, the Heads of States and Governments supported the candidacy of Dr Akinwumi Adesina, for a second term as President of the African Development Bank.

The communiqué stated that the date of the 57th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of States and Government would be communicated at a later date, after consultations with the Heads of states and Government. (NAN)