ECOWAS Commission President Kadre Desire Ouedraogo has appealed to member states of the 15-member organisation to faithfully implement the Community Levy Protocol and Mechanisms, to provide the organisation with the funds needed for effective discharge its obligations.
“I urge all member states to consistently implement the Community Levy Protocol and Mechanisms in order to provide the community with the necessary funds to meet its financial obligations,” the President told delegates to the 14th meeting of the ECOWAS Administration and Finance (AFC) Committee, which opened in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, Monday.
The levy from a 0.5 percent tax imposed on goods from non-ECOWAS member states is used to finance the programmes and activities of the ECOWAS Commission and other Community institutions.
Recently, the implementation of the community levy regime has been faced with challenges mainly related to the interpretation of the goods covered by the levy.
Describing the AFC, an ECOWAS statutory organ, as one of the main drivers of the regional integration project, President Ouedraogo urged its members to examine with the characteristic wisdom and selflessness the 2014 draft budget of the community, one of the agenda items of the week-long meeting.
He assured that the “distractive and resource consuming crises” suffered by the region will not affect the focus of the Commission and the other Community institutions in delivering on their core integration objectives and meeting the yearnings of citizens through “strict implementation of the decisions of our leaders.”
The ECOWAS chief informed the meeting, attended by heads of ECOWAS National Units and experts from the ministries of finance, that the European Union plans to double its allocation to regional integration programmes for West Africa under its 11th European Development Fund, in recognition of the growing importance of regional integration and the credibility of the ECOWAS Commission.
The President assured of sound stewardship and prudent utilisation of the EU funds which will augment the estimated income from external sources in the Community’s 2014 budget.
Earlier, the chairman of the AFC, Mr. Minourou Silla of Cote d’Ivoire, commended members of the Committee for attaching the greatest importance to the Community budgetary process and urged them to maintain their candour and dispassionate disposition in considering the 2014 budget.