ECOWAS Parliament pushes for stiffer measures to tackle Corruption
By Adoba Echono, Abuja
The Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, has called for stiffer measures in tackling corruption in the region.
The Speaker of the Community Parliament Sidie Tunis made the call at the opening of Parliament’s High-level Seminar in Lome, Togo with the theme “Application of the power of the Parliament in light of the restructuring of the ECOWAS Commission”.
Dr Tunis tasked governments of Member States with decisive steps to tackle corruption which has been undermining the economic growth of the region. He urged the Parliamentarians to enhance their commitment and understanding of their institutional roles and responsibilities.
The High-level Parliamentary Seminar seeks to explore and discuss the parliament’s approach to the new administrative restructuring of the ECOWAS Commission.
This is in line with Article 27 (2) of the supplementary Act relating to the enhancement of powers of the ECOWAS Parliament’s mandate.
Dr Tunis said that “In endeavouring to boost our understanding of the institutional role and powers granted to us by the Supplementary Act.
“It is very important that we remain sensitive to the challenges confronting our achievements in regional integration, especially those brought upon us by the global economic crisis and internal conflicts.
“These include economic hardship and increase in the cost of living, climate change, which is affecting our countries in many ways, and accountability in our governance system. All these require our attention.”
“Furthermore, as we strive to rebuild our economies in the wake of the Covid-19 Pandemic, we must also take very decisive steps at fighting corruption.
“Corruption continues to undermine our development and slow down economic growth in the ECOWAS Member States. The Time for accelerated action is now,” Tunis said.
He said; “As we meet, the gains we have painstakingly made as a region are being threatened.
“Threats to democracy and the rule of law, combating corruption, the realisation of the African Free Trade Area, eradicating poverty, promoting human rights, and advocating for gender equality, loom across the region.”
Tunis said that as the sub-region confronts these daunting challenges, it would require innovative strategies that ensure each Community Institution performs its role in line with the competencies conferred upon it.
He said that in doing so, the ECOWAS Parliament, which reflects the full representation of the peoples of all 15 ECOWAS Member States, is the ideal platform to share experiences about workable ways by which solutions can be found.
“It is expected that this seminar will increase the understanding of Members of Parliament of the extent of their enhanced powers and take full ownership of them
“It is also expected that Members will be informed about the institutional reforms currently ongoing in the ECOWAS System, particularly at the ECOWAS Commission, and how it directly affects their work.
“I also expect that this Seminar will move this Parliament to seek greater competencies, one that allows the Parliament to play its full role in the discharge of its political and diplomatic duties.
“I wish to remind each of us that our Parliament remains envy across the African Continent and as such, Africa and the region look up to us for leadership, as well as political and economic development,” he explained.
Tunis said; “We must ensure that we live up to those expectations and take ownership of the peace, security, and governance of our region.
“We must continue to strengthen our engagements and work for hand in hand for the good of the people we serve, By so doing, we would have left behind a legacy that will be cherished for generations to come.”
He also tasked Member states on early warning preparedness ahead of national elections to mitigate likely election challenges as Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Liberia prepare for their national elections.