National Assembly signs $1.280m lawmakers’ capacity development grant

Edwin Akwueh Abuja

The Nigerian parliament has signed a $1.280 million project grant agreement with the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) for capacity development of the legislators and other support staff.

President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki signed on behalf of the National Assembly while Professor Emmanuel Nnadozie signed for the ACBF, during a meeting held in Abuja on Monday.

Tagged National Institute for Legislative Studies, NILS- CAP 2 Grant, the project is for the purpose of strengthening the financial oversight functions of parliaments, to deepen the democratic process in West African countries.

On March 27, 2014, the ECOWAS parliaments received a grant of $900,000 from the ACBF and a contribution of $700,000 from the National Assembly to jointly support the implementation of the first phase of the NILS Capacity Building Project (NILS-CAP I).

The first phase which covered a two year period from 2014 to 2016, was a national project with a regional outlook that focused on Capacity Building for the National Parliaments of the member countries of the ECOWAS and the ECOWAS Parliament.

Dr. Saraki who is also the Chairman of the Governing Council of the National Institute for Legislative Studies, expressed his delight at the role of NILS in advancing the knowledge of parliamentarians across West Africa.

“It is gratifying to note that NILS-CAP II is furthertargeting capacity development in ECOWAS countries and the ECOWAS Parliament to more effectively facilitate the implementation of intra-regional trade among ECOWAS member states and effective financial oversight in the sub region.

As part of the programme, a platform would be created for legislators in the ECOWAS sub-region including Nigeria and other governance actors to discuss these daunting issues and to come up with practical solutions.”

The Executive Secretary of ACBF, Professor Emmanuel Nnadozie, said the implementation of the project would further enhance the status of NILS as a national institution with regional outlook.

“The project will enable NILS to, among other things, organize dialogue sessions for policy makers and legislators to deliberate on important national and regional development issues,” Nnadozie said. “More important, this grant will enable NILS to expand its coverage to Francophone countries and work closely with the ECOWAS Parliament.”

On her part, the Director General of NILS, Professor Ladi Hamalai, said the National Assembly/NILS-ACBF collaboration over the years has helped to scale up legislative capacity development in Nigeria and the West African sub-region.

She lauded the ACBF for continuous support to NILS and her significant role in strengthening national parliaments towards sustainable development in West Africa.

The grant agreements have been made possible by a multiyear partnership between AfDB and ACBF to help Africa achieve its sustainable developed plan by Improving formulation and implementation of economic and financial policies for Africa’s transformation, and improving intra-regional trade and Africa’s share in global trade.

The NILS grant signing is on a project estimated to cost US$1,280,000 and NILS is expected to contribute $180,000. It will fund high-level dialogues and regional workshops to enhance the technical capacity of parliamentarians for a sound economic and financial oversight/accountability of State institutions in West Africa.

It will also augment the capacity of parliamentarians to oversee implementation of intra-regional trade agreements and negotiations in the global market.

Nnenna.O