ECOWAS Commission presents community budget to regional Parliament

By Adoba Echono

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The Administration and Finance Committee (AFC) of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, Commission, has laid before the Community Parliament the 2023 draft budget of over Four Hundred and Twenty-Seven Million Unit of Account (UA 427,979,594) for consideration.

The Chairperson of the AFC, Cristina Pedreira, who made the Presentation before Members of the Parliament in Abuja’, said the Committee came up with the draft budget and recommendations sequel to the 32nd Meeting of the AFC, which held from November 14 – 21, 2022.

The 2023 budget will focus on four strategic objectives which are: Enhanced Peace and Security, Deeper Regional Integration, Good Governance, Inclusive and Sustained Development.

The expenditure for 2023 increased by 8.7 percent above the 2022 approved budget of UA 393,612,400, about 70 per cent of the budget is expected to be funded by community levy, while 30 percent by donors.

“Compared to the 2022 approved budget, the 2023 revenue forecast will increase by 8.7 per cent, representing UA 427,979,594, against UA 393,612,400 in 2022.

“This is due to the increase of 50 per cent of Community levy, 10 per cent of year end Bank Balance, 5 per cent of arrears of Community levy proceeds and 15 per cent of external funding.

“Expenditure is also projected to increase by by 8.7 per cent to a UA 427,979,594, compared to UA 393,612,400 in 2022. This development is mainly a result of the increase of institutions expenditure (+15.5 per cent),” Pedeira said.

Cristina Pedreira called on Member States to comply with the payment of their community levy to facilitate the execution of the budget.

“Member States should adhere strictly to the protocol of committee levy and compliance with the deadline.

The ECOWAS Commission in view of putting the amount of arrears in terms of the payment to be made in regards of counties that are owing community levy after the presentation and deliberation.

“There must be a commitment for accountability by countries that are defaulting. The ECOWAS Parliament should support this effort by encouraging Member States to comply with the provisions of the Community levy.

 ” With regards to the community, the budget for presentation to the Council of Ministers, AFC is asking for support for the fund for its activities in community institutions.

“Community institutions and special agencies should endeavor to increase their budget absorption and project implementation from 2023.

 Community Institutions and specialized agencies should accelerate their recruitment of relevant staff to priority areas and enhance the capacity of current Staff as necessitated by the Staff Skill Audit.

“AFC further recommended that the replacement of Staff should be based on the Skilled Audit before Proceeding on a phased approach for recruitment into other vacant positions,” Peidera said.

According to the laid down rules of the Parliament, the Procedure for considering the Community budget is governed by Article 11 of the Supplementary Act.

Member states were urged to pay their community levy as 70% of the budget will be funded by community levy, while 30% by donor’s fund.

The Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Dr Sidie Mohamed Tunis, explained that after the consideration of the Community Budget by AFC and presented to the Parliament, Commission’s President shall transmit report and Parliament shall issue its opinion and propose amendments if necessary.

 “Colleagues will be expected to debate the presentation, other referrals that will be submitted and presented to the Committees and we urge the members to do everything possible to participate in the Committee meetings.

”By Monday, we are expecting that these reports from the various committees will be submitted to the plenary at the opening Session on Monday 28th November,” Tunis said.

The Fifth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament will officially open its 2nd 2022 Ordinary Session on Monday November 28, 2022.