ECOWAS Parliament to get enhanced legislative powers in 2016

The Economic Community of West African States Parliament said on Monday the Supplementary Act on the Enhancement of the Powers of the parliament would be implemented by the fourth legislature in 2016.

The fourth Deputy Speaker of the parliament, Simon Osei-Mensah, made this known to journalists on the sideline of the opening of its Extraordinary Session in Abuja.

Mr. Osei-Mensah said the adoption of the Act by the Authority of Heads of State in December would enable the parliament to move from being an advisory body to assuming legislative functions to achieve the ECOWAS Vision 2020.

“The enhancement of powers of the ECOWAS Parliament has been approved by the Authority of Heads of State and we need to go over the process so that we get clarity of issues.

“The enhancement of powers was submitted to the council in their meeting in Ghana, then they asked parliament to take it back to the Administration and Finance Committee (AFC) to consider the financial implications of the enhanced parliament.

“During the last meeting of the AFC, the AFC indicated that parliament must submit a budget for the enhanced parliament when the 2016 budgets of the ECOWAS institutions are being considered and that is the right thing to do because the third legislature, which is the current legislature, is not going to implement the enhanced project.

“We are laying the basis for implementation for the fourth legislature and the tenure of the third legislature will end in August this year.

“The approval of the Supplementary Act will form the basis of the operations of the fourth legislature and of the enhanced parliament and until that is signed, it will be difficult for the third legislature to prepare any budget for approval for them to work with in 2016.”

Mr. Osei-Mensah also said the Act, when implemented would form the basis of the operations of the fourth legislature.
He said that the extraordinary session would enable parliamentarians set modalities for the election of the fourth legislature.

Also speaking, Kadre Ouedraogo, the President of the ECOWAS Commission commended the members of parliament for the efforts made so far.

“We are happy that the Council of Ministers and the Authority have approved it, but have requested that we analyse the financial implication and resubmit the dossier at their next session.

“And we are hopeful that at their next session they will now formalise the process of enhancing the prerogative of the parliament.

“It will strengthen our integration process and it will strengthen democracy in West Africa.”

The Extraordinary Session of the parliament, which will end on February 7 is expected to consider and adopt the reports of the Standing, Ad hoc and Joint Committees.

(NAN)


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