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ECOWAS Parliament mulls 2019 budget to help facilitate single currency

ECOWAS Parliament mulls 2019 budget to help facilitate single currency

Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS Parliament) has started the Second Ordinary Session mainly for the consideration of the 2019 Community Budget in accordance with Articles 7 and 17 of the Supplementary Act relating to the Enhancement of powers of the ECOWAS Parliament.

Speaker of the Parliament, Mustapha Cisse Lo, while fielding questions from reporters at the opening ceremony of the session, said the Second Ordinary Session was a community budget session, say the Parliament would consider the budgets of the institutions and organs of the ECOWAS. He pointed out that these budgets would then be adopted and forwarded to the Council of Ministers.

He said however, in his speech while declaring the session open, that the Parliament was waiting to receive the draft budget from other ECOWAS institutions, which he said would be considered by the Administration and Finance Committee with the hope that the Parliament would get the draft budget within the statutory deadline prescribed by the Regulations of the Council of Ministers.

“I would like to reassure the Committee and all the ECOWAS Institutions that the parliamentarians will, once again, carefully consider the budget with a view to adopting a document, which proper implementation will enable the achievement of regional sustainable development goals.

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“Other important issues to consider include: the Presentation of the President of the ECOWAS Commission on the state of the Community; Draft programme of activity of the Parliament for 2019; Country Reports; Reports of fact-finding and parliamentary oversight missions, among others,” he said.

On the protracted issue of the single currency for West Africa, Cisse Lo reiterated the Parliament’s determination to help fast-track the process to establish the much desired Single Currency for the sub-region in order to enhance economic integration, stressing, “West Africa cannot think about having economic development if it does not have harmonised economic policies.

“It is not the parliament that will decide on the issue of Single currency.  What I can tell you is that the Parliament is in support of that initiative this is a process that has to be sped off.  We can’t think of having development if we don’t have harmonised economic policies in our region.

“In any case the parliament is going to refer the issue to itself, and we are going to express our opinion to the Heads of State. I met with President Issoufou of Niger and he has asked for the support of Parliament so that this issue can be dealt with at the level of our Parliament so that we can finalise this very noble issue.”

ECOWAS has set a target year of 2022 to have a single currency for the 15-member regional organisation, despite the discrepancies that have trailed the project.

On the issue of Morocco’s controversial quest to join ECOWAS, Cisse Lo pointed out that the joining or exclusion of a country was at the level of the Heads of State, saying, “We need to take note of the agreement of the Heads of State in principle. A committee has been set up to be able to handle that issue to consider the impacts on our economies. A 66-page document has been produced on that.”
The Heads of State will soon take a final decision on the issue, he said.