ECOWAS Commission President Kadré Ouédraogo has appealed for the “consistent implementation of the Community Levy Protocol and Mechanisms” by member states to provide the regional organisation with the requisite funds to meet its financial obligations.
He said at the opening of the 15th meeting of the ECOWAS Administration and Finance Committee in Accra, Ghana, Monday that the institution had since this year been confronted with six main challenges including the expansion of its operations against the background of “severe problems of funding from the Community levy”.
Introduced in 1996 and operational four years later, the 0.5-per cent levy on goods imported into the region from third countries is to enable the Community fund its programmes as a replacement for the previous regime of assessed dues.
In the speech delivered by the Commissioner for Finance, Mrs. Khadi Ramatu Saccoh, the President said other challenges were the reorganisation of ECOWAS’ programmes to accommodate six new commissioners and regional security.
There is also the coordination of negotiations of an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union which is nearing conclusion and ongoing institutional reform to enhance efficiency and ensure better use of the resources of the community.
The ECOWAS chief said this mid-year review by the committee is of special significance being the first since the recent change in the Chairmanship of the organisation; the expansion to a 15-member Commission; appointment of new judges to the Community Court of Justice and changes in the leadership of the Community’s health organisation, WAHO, and the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA).
He assured the committee, which has responsibility for financial matters in the community, of the management’s determination to “improve efficiency, eliminate waste send ensure the efficient utilisation of community resources,” urging the members to display during the two-day meeting, the usual wisdom and selfless interest that have characterised their deliberations.