The statutory Second Ordinary Session of the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) started in Abuja via videoconference, from Wednesday, 13 to Tuesday, 19 January, 2021 following the reality of the 2nd wave of the SARS-COV-2 pandemic.
The Session runs in line with the ECOWAS calendar, to consider and give Parliamentary Opinion on the Community Budget proposal adopted by the Administration and Finance Commission (AFC) of ECOWAS was initially slated to hold, in person, at Abuja, the seat of Parliament.
Hon. Sidie Tunis, Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament in his opening remark disclosed that this session, otherwise known as the “Budget Session”, provides the opportunity, in accordance with provisions of the Supplementary Act, for Parliament to consider the Community’s Budget which specifically is expected to ensure that the estimates are directed towards programs that addresses the needs of the people.
Speaker Tunis said “I make specific reference to Article 17.2a, which states that “after the consideration of the Budget by the Administration and Finance Committee (AFC), the report of the AFC on the Budget shall be presented to Parliament during the Parliamentary Budget Session; In fulfillment of this statutory responsibility, we are expected to render opinion, including where necessary, proposals for the amendment to the draft Community Budget”.
Continuing, he said, “It is pertinent for me to report that in November 2020, the Bureau of Parliament, acting upon Article 25.B/3f/vii of the Supplementary Act Relating to the Enhancement of the Powers of the ECOWAS Parliament, met in Cotonou, Republic of Benin to consider and adopt the 2021 Budget of the ECOWAS Parliament, which was formulated in accordance with the ECOWAS Financial Regulations and Accounting Guidelines and Procedure. The budget, as adopted by the Bureau, sought to strengthen economic and social development, reinforce security and support democratic values in the ECOWAS sub-region as directed by the Extraordinary Summit of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government held on 23rd April 2020.”
Six new Parliamentarians across Liberia and the Republic of Guinea were
sworn-in during the Session. The newly sworn-in Members of Parliament are Hon. Jonathan Lambort Kaipay (Liberia), Hon. Souleymane Keita (Guinea), Hon. Ramatoulaye Labbo Diallo (Guinea), Hon. Bandian Neiba Conde (Guinea), Hon. Aboubacar Soumah (Guinea) and Hon Boubacar Diallo (Guinea) respectively.
Welcoming the newly sworn-in MPs into the Parliament, Hon. Sidie Tunis, Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, urged the newly sworn in to emulate the track records of the out gone members of whom they are replacing and also challenged them to defend and represent the Community Parliament whom they’ve been called to serve.