Council of Ministers urged to assist ECOWAS Commission embark on global best practices
His Excellency Olugbenga Ashiru, Nigeria’s Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs has today August 17, 2011 urged his counterparts in attendance to the 66th session of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Council of Ministers including Sierra Leone’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Ebun Jusu and Hon. Alhaji F.B.L. Mansaray Deputy Minister of Finance to actually assist the Commission, to urgently make amends and embark on actions which meet global best practices. (Photo: L-R Hon. Deputy Foreign Minister Hon. Ebun Jusu, High Commissioner H.E. Henry O. Macauley & Deputy Finance Minister Hon. Alhaji F B L Mansaray)
Speaking in his capacity as Chairman, during his opening address of the 66th Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers at Asokoro, Abuja, Nigeria, the Honorable Minister said the next two days will see them occupied with discussions on issues that are expected to advance the collective interests of the ECOWAS Sub-region.
Given the importance of these issues, His Excellency Olugbenga Ashiru, Nigeria’s Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs urged all of his colleagues (Ministers & Representatives) to contribute meaningfully to the deliberations in order to present sound and credible recommendations to the Authority of Heads of State.
According to him, there are some concerns in the ECOWAS Commission which must be addressed in order for it to attain global best practices: “the policy of budgetary allocations and expenditure in the ratio of 60:40% for programs and administration has never been implemented by Community institutions. “This singular critical goal for our integration process has unfortunately been elusive over the years. “In fact the non implementation of this goal has been the source of the reported unnecessary wastages in our (ECOWAS) organization”. Said the Minister: adding, “The then chairman of the Authority President Olusegun Obasanjo observed this anomaly and brought it to the attention of the organization several years ago. “Unfortunately, the trend has been on the increase. “With regard to the economic integration process, it is regrettable to note that ECOWAS protocol on Free Movement of Persons, Goods and services and the Right of Residence and Establishment, a key element in our integration objectives is yet to be fully implemented after thirty two years.
“To compound matters, our development partners are becoming reluctant to invest in our development programs because of concerns: some of which are genuine. “There is no doubt that the success of our previous collective robust actions especially in the area of selfless contribution to the maintenance of world peace and security , particularly as it affects our sub-region was what gave our European partners the confidence to support our integration efforts and activities. “We must therefore avoid any action, including lack of transparency and accountability, lack of regard for rules as well as financial recklessness in the Commission, to stand in the way of reaping the fruits of this positive cooperation.”
“We should and must not allow this to happen. It is imperative here that we encourage and actually assist the Commission to urgently make amends and embarks on actions which meet global best practices.
“This is the only way to go if we are not to risk losing the confidence of our development partners thereby jeopardizing their sometimes crucial financial support to some crucial ECOWAS programs which have beneficial impact on the lives of ECOWAS Citizens.” He therefore called on Ministers present including Sierra Leone’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Ebun Jusu and Hon. Alhaji F.B.L. Mansaray Deputy Minister of Finance to be resolute in their efforts and commitments to the success of the ECOWAS Commission. He said areas of duplication and wastages in the organization’s administrative process must be eliminated, while more focus and emphasis should be placed on undertaking programs that will drive the Commission’s integration goals, devoid of over bloated and excessively remunerated bureaucracy. The Nigeria’s Foreign Minister said the continuous reliance on consultants for Commissions work need to be re-considered to give space and opportunity to staff statutory employed to do the work for which they are paid. “Furthermore, our system in all its ramifications including tenure of staff, must scrupulously comply with rules and regulations.
Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I want to seize this opportunity to reiterate the Commitment of His Excellency Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR, President of the Republic of Nigeria to the sustenance of this organization and upholding the Principles of the rule of Law and Democratic governance in the Sub region.
Over the past year, the Honorable Minister said “the sub region recorded significant progress in the consolidation of peace political stability and democratic governance. Elections were successfully conducted in Benin, Guinea- Conakry, Nigeria. “We witnessed the restoration of democratic governance in Niger and Cote d I voire. “I have no doubt in my mind that we will continue along this path of full democratic governance in our sub region, because they are prerequisite for economic growth.
Earlier, President of ECOWAS Commission, H.E. James Victor Gbeho gave a brief on the political and security developments in the sub region and referred to elections in Cote d I voire, Guinea Niger Benin, Cape Verde and Nigeria as indicators that the Commission is moving in the right direction.
He called on the ECOWAS Council of Ministers to use their vast experience and commitment to ECOWAS and the regional integration process, “I have no doubt in my mind that you will do justice to the tasks before you. “I wish you productive deliberations”. He concluded.
Pasco Gerald Temple, Out-going Information Attaché, Sierra Leone High Commission, Abuja, Nigeria
Stay with Sierra Express Media, for your trusted place in news!
© 2011, https:. All rights reserved.