2017 budget tops agenda as ECOWAS Parliament begins session

The ECOWAS Parliament has begun its Second Ordinary Session to consider and adopt the reports of the committee with responsibility to prepare the preliminary draft of its 2017 budget.

The two-week session, also referred to as the statutory budget session, which began on Thursday, in Abuja, will hold till October 7.

The Committee on Administration, Finance, Budget Control and Audit is responsible for preparing the preliminary draft budget, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

The session will also receive the report on the Current State of the Community from the President of ECOWAS Commission, Mr Alain Marcel de Souza.

Presentations of Country Reports will also be made by each member state’s delegation to the parliament during the session.

The reports are expected to include details on various sectoral developmental interventions by governments of member states toward achieving the ECOWAS vision of raising the standard of living of citizens in the sub-region.

The session will also discuss the report of the constituted Inter-Institutional Committee on the Enhancement of Powers.

The opening ceremony of the session will be addressed by the Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia.

Representatives of national parliaments of member states, the Pan-African Parliament, East Africa Legislative Assembly, the diplomatic community as well as officials from ECOWAS institutions will also attend.

The fourth legislature of the parliament was inaugurated in February.

At its First Ordinary Session in May, the enhancement of legislative powers of the parliament was largely discussed with members calling on relevant authorities to facilitate the process.

Parliamentarians have, on several occasions, reiterated that the enhancement of legislative powers of the parliament would grant it greater authority to legislate on common issues that would facilitate sub-regional development.

The parliament is composed of 115 seats, with each member state having a guaranteed minimum of five seats.

The remaining 40 seats are shared on the basis of the populations of member states.

Nigeria has the highest number of seats with 35, followed by Ghana with eight seats.

Cote d’Ivoire has seven seats, while Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Senegal have six seats each.

Benin Republic, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo maintain five seats each.