ECOWAS President pleads for prompt payment of community levy
The President of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Marcel de Souza, has pleaded for prompt payment of Community Levy by Member States of the regional organization.
A statement issued on Thursday by the Communications Division of the ECOWAS Commission made available to BusinessDay, noted that the President made this appeal at the opening of the 79th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers, even as he indicated that the non-payment or delay in the lodgment of Community Levy by our Member States remains a major challenge.
“It is hoped that Member States would continue to honour their obligations to the Institution by providing the resources needed to finance projects and programmes, particularly the fight against insecurity and improving the living conditions of the people in the Community,” he stated.
He urged the Ministers to continue to plead with their respective governments to respect their primary obligation for the survival of ECOWAS.He recalled the Commission’s efforts in 2017 to continue the implementation of cost-containment measures, not only within the Commission but also in other specialised Community Institutions, the statement said.
The Community has become the cynosure of technical partners and other international institutions, which is why several countries, even outside West Africa, are striving to join the organisation, he opined.
“This is not only a welcome development but also calls for more commitment, seriousness and diligence in the daily management of our organisation’s resources,” declared de Souza, while urging Member States to implement the major Community protocols and texts.
In the area of security, de Souza recalled the terrorist threat facing West Africa, notably the indiscriminate terrorist attacks perpetrated in Northern Nigeria, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire.
Marcel de Souza also provided update on the institutional reform in ECOWAS, noting that the collective commitment and resolve of the entire Commission would be required to successfully complete the reform within the shortest possible time, despite the opposition and challenges encountered at various stages of its implementation, the statement said.
Just as Marcel de Souza, the Togolese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and African Integration, Robert Dussey stated that the institutional reform remains one of the priorities of the regional organisation since the last Council session held in June 2017 in Monrovia, Liberia.
He pointed out that the reform is aimed at repositioning ECOWAS on the African and international scenes by enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of its institutions, and implementing programmes in keeping with the Community’s Integration Agenda.
The harmonious implementation of critical projects in the Community, especially monetary integration, customs union, private sector promotion and improvement of business environment, agriculture and infrastructure development, promotion of democracy, regional peacekeeping and security, require substantial commitment, political will and financial resources, Dussey said.
“However, there has been a decline in revenue in recent years. This calls for more responsibility and prudence should we desire to achieve integration and particularly socio-economic development in line with the ECOWAS Vision 2020,” he pointed out.
He commended Member States’ determination to honour their obligations to remit the Community Levy and pay up the equity of the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID), despite their difficult domestic economic situation.
Over twenty (20) items are included on the agenda of the 79th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers for decision, endorsement and information, the statement said.
Council, comprising Member States’ Ministers of Finance and those in charge of ECOWAS Affairs, is mainly responsible for ensuring smooth functioning and development in the Community, alongside making recommendations to the regional bloc’s Authority of Heads of State and Government.
Innocent Odoh, Abuja
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