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Marcel De Souza Makes Case For 16th Economy For The 15 ECOWAS Member States

PIC.1IMG_5188The ECOWAS Commission President, Mr. Marcel de Souza, has called on participants in the 19th Administration and Finance Committee (AFC) meeting which opened on Monday, 9 May 2016 in Dakar, Senegal, to redouble efforts in enhancing the well-being of West African citizens and achieving an ECOWAS of People.

While expressing satisfaction at the remarkable progress and gains recorded in the regional Organization’s 41 years of existence, Mr. de Souza noted that several challenges still remain to be addressed.

It is our collective duty to ensure that steps are taken to effectively build the 16th economy for the 15 Member States, that is, an effective economic and customs union in a political environment that upholds the fundamental rights of citizens and is capable of shrinking the borders of poverty”, he stated.

According to the Commission’s principal, ECOWAS Member States can develop only through active and dynamic regional solidarity and within the context of a common integration policy and strategies.PIC.3IMG_5224

To that end, Mr. Souza welcomed the meeting which he said presented the occasion to interact with the Community’s representatives. He took the opportunity to remind delegates of the importance of the Community Levy which, in his words, constitutes the backbone for financing ECOWAS programmes and activities.

I appeal to all Member States to consistently implement the Community Levy Protocol and the relevant mechanisms, to provide the Community with the needed funds”, he said.

The head of ECOWAS’ executive body undertook, along with his team, to manage with due rigour the resources made available to the organization.

In similar fashion, the Director of Regional Integration of Senegal and AFC Chairman, Mr. Jean Antoine Diouf, called on Member States to honour their Community Levy commitments and also exercise stricter controls over the functioning of ECOWAS institutions.PIC.2IMG_5227

The institutions must show an acute sense of responsibility in the sound management of Community funds and raise the level of its financial governance to meet international standards.

Our resources should be channeled more towards real development programmes rather than operations or coordination efforts, that is to say meetings and retreats of which some add no real value. The diverse staff body is also expected to be skilled and to create value”, the AFC Chairman said.

Mr. Diouf commended the review of the Staff Regulations and hoped the final document, due to be examined by the 19th AFC meeting, will spur ECOWAS officers to give of their best for the Community.

The meeting will examine all major issues relating to the deepening of the regional integration process, especially the report on the functioning of Community institutions and bodies.

Member States’ delegates will thus consider the tasks assigned to institutions and the Community’s financial situation, as well as the Memorandum on Phases 1 and 2 of the Lungi Logistics Depot in Sierra Leone.

Discussions will equally focus on the memoranda on the transformation of the Missions Planning and Management Unit into the Peace Support Operations Division, the Community Strategic Framework, payment of resettlement allowances to statutory and professional officers and the ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority.

Other items tabled before the meeting are the review of the ECOWAS staff regulations, presentation of the financial controller’s 2015 interim report, update on the Economic Partnership Agree, and status of the Regional Indicative Programme.

The meeting’s opening ceremony afforded the opportunity to present the new Commissioners, Vice-President and President of the ECOWAS Commission.

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