Members of the ECOWAS Parliament on Monday 16th May 2022, commenced a delocalised meeting with joint committee on Public Accounts/Administration, Finance and Budget/Macroeconomic Policies and Economic Research /Trade, Customs and Free Movement at the Sakarawa Hotel in Lome, Togo.
The weekly event, which commenced on Monday, attracted dignitaries from the ECOWAS Parliament, as well as those coming from Nigeria, Ghana, Guinea, Gambia etc.
The session started with statements and presentations by members, emphasizing on the significance of the delocalised meeting, which touched on key issues such as Public Accounts/Administration,Financial and Budget/Macroeconomic policies and economic research /trade ,customs and Free Trade Movement formed part of the main issues.
Concerns were raised for an effective and prudent financial records on transparency and accountability. Therefore, the establishment of the office of ECOWAS Auditor General was highly recognized for its role and responsibility in actualizing their vision.
Speaking during the opening of the session, Co-Chairperson Hon Bida Nouhoume, also Chairman of the Public Account Committee in the Benin Parliament, touched on the theme of the meeting, which is:‘‘The modalities for the practical implementation of Articles 9 and 11 of the Supplementary Act of the Parliament in respect of the consideration of the Community Audit Reports’’. Subsequently, under the Parliament mandate, and specifically in accordance with Articles 9. 1c and 11. 1 of the Supplementary Act A/SA.1/12/16, Relating to the Enhancement of the Powers of the ECOWAS Parliament, Mandatory Referral of Annual Audit Reports of Community Organs and Institutions and Parliament’s Opinion is required.
The objective of the meeting is to enable Members (MPs) of the Joint Committee deliberate, better understand, and take ownership of the practical implementation of the said Articles.
Commissioner for Finance, Mrs Halima Ahmed, expressed profound gratitude to the Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament for the support and collaboration between institutions. She made it known how during the period they assumed office in March 2018, they inherited a reform process that was driven largely by Finance Department.”We also inherited some problems and challenges confronting the department, particularly the backlog of Financial Statements that were not prepared, dating back to four (4) and pending audits. Fast forward today, I am proud to report that we have updated our accounts, produced financial statements and got them audited, using the International Public Accounting Standards (IPSAS). We have also produced consolidated Financial Statements of all ECOWAS institutions. By next month, in June, (inshaAllah), we will publish the Financial Statements in line with the provisions of ECOWAS Financial Regulations. With that, the financial situation of ECOWAS will be regularly available to the citizens for their appreciation, thereby improving public accountability.
Other speakers made meaningful statements and contributions geared towards the empowerment of the commission.
For ease of reference, statements of the Co-Chair and the Commissioner for Finance are published verbatim on the inside pages of this edition…
|COMMUNAUTE ECONOMIQUE DES ETATS DE L’AFRIQUE DE L’OUEST||ECONOMIC COMMUNITY OF WEST AFRICAN STATES|
Joint Committee on Public Accounts | Administration, Finance and Budget | Macroeconomic Policies and Economic Research | Trade, Customs and Free Movement
Mrs HALIMA AHMED–COMMISSIONER FOR FINANCE
Sarakawa, Lomé, Togo
- Rt Honourable Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament
- Rt Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly of Togo
- Excellency Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and Togolese in the Diaspora
- Honourable Members of the ECOWAS Parliament
- The Secretary General of ECOWAS Parliament
- Directors and Staff of ECOWAS
- Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
- Good morning
I am deeply honoured to be invited to give this short remarks. I bring you message of good will from HE Jean-Claude KassiBrou, President of ECOWAS Commission, as well as the management and staff of the Commission.
We would like to sincerely extend our warm greetings and appreciation to HE Faure Gnassingbe Eyadema, President of the Togolese Republic, the National Assembly and good people of Togo for the usual warm welcome and hospitality extended to us since our arrival in Lomé.
I wish to also express our profound gratitude to the Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament for the support and collaboration between our institutions. We thank you for associating us with this Meeting and for the choice of the theme, which is both relevant and timely.
RtHonourable Speakers, Excellencies, Honourable Parliamentarians, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
When the current Management assumed duty in March 2018, we inherited a reform process that was driven largely by Finance Department. We also inherited some problems and challenges confronting the department, particularly the backlog of Financial Statements that were not prepared, dating back to four (4) and pending audits. Fast forward today, I am proud to report that we have updated our accounts, produced financial statements and got them audited using the International Public Accounting Standards (IPSAS). We have also produced consolidated Financial Statements of all ECOWAS institutions. By next month, in June, (inshaAllah), we will publish the Financial Statements in line with the provisions of ECOWAS Financial Regulations. With that, the financial situation of ECOWAS will be regularly available to the citizens for their appreciation, thereby improving public accountability.
RtHonourable Speakers, Excellencies, Honourable Parliamentarians
Under this Management, the implementation of the enhanced powers of the Parliament commenced with the consideration of the budget of the Community. This is a significant step in the direction of public accountability. The opinions expressed on the budget now constitute a core part of the budget approval process by Council of Ministers.
Moreover, we have revised the ECOWAS Protocol on Community Levy and replaced it with a Community Levy Act. The new Act has made some provision for the role of the ECOWAS Parliament in Community Levy mobilization. Therefore, little by little, we are seeing the enhancements in the role of Parliament in the community integration process. However, these changes also confer on the Parliamentarians more responsibility. Particularly the responsibility to devote more time and attention to fine details, to establishing a connection between what we do at the regional level and the situation of their constituencies. It is therefore, encouraging that this Joint Committee will be examining the specific provisions of the Supplementary Act of the Parliament on consideration of the Community Audit Reports.
I, on my part, as pioneer Secretary General of the ECOWAS Parliament and presently Commissioner for Finance, will continue to provide the Parliament with the necessary support that it requires. For that, I have with me a strong team from my Department, led by the Ag. Director, Mr Amadou Balde, who was a Staff in the Parliament, to present, for your appreciation and input:
- the 2020 Consolidated Annual Audit Report of the Community Institutions;
- the 2020 Audit Management letter and;
- the key highlights of the ECOWAS Financial Regulations and Manual of Accounting Procedure.
I believe you would find these presentations informative. Once again, I thank you Rt Honourable Speaker and your distinguished colleagues in the ECOWAS Parliament for your dedication and commitment to the inter-institutional cooperation and collaboration between the Commission and the Parliament.
With these few remarks, I wish us all fruitful deliberations.
Thank you. Merci. Obrigada.