ECOWAS parliament holds session in Nigeria

Liberia’s representatives to the parliament ( Left to Right) Rep. Karmoh, Sen. Weah, Rep. Siryon, Sen. Johnson & Rep. Snowe

The 4th Legislature of the parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) over the weekend convened its first extraordinary session for the year in Abuja, the Nigeria capital.

Both the speaker of the parliament and president of the ECOWAS Commission separately paid glowing tributes to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, chairperson of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, and her regional colleagues for their significant role in successfully resolving The Gambia impasse.

Liberia’s five representatives to the parliament were all present for the ongoing five-day working session. Senators Prince Y. Johnson and George M. Weah of Nimba and Montserrado Counties respectively, and Representatives Jefferson Karmoh, Edwin M. Snowe and Fata H. Siryon of Sinoe, Montserrado and Bomi Counties respectively constitute Liberia’s representation to the regional parliament.
During Friday’s opening, Speaker Moustapha Cisse Lo lauded President Sirleaf for her leadership role that ensured the peaceful resolution of the Gambian crisis.
Also, Speaker Cisse Lo commended his colleagues for their indefatigable support in ensuring that the agenda for 2016 were achieved, particularly, the adoption of the Supplementary Act which is being considered as a major landmark towards the full integration of the region.

The extraordinary session considered and adopted the draft report for the implementation of the Supplementary Act relating to the enhancement of its powers.

Adopted at the Fiftieth (50th) Summit of the Authority of Heads of State and Government in Abuja, Nigeria, in 2016, the Supplementary Act on the Enhancement of Powers seeks to bequeath to the parliament the powers of mandatory accent and mandatory referral on budget scrutiny and issues of integration policies in the region.

Speaker Cisse Lo continued, “But the year 2016 was particularly the year during which the adoption process of the Supplementary Act enhancing the powers of the Parliament, set in motion by the previous legislatures, was accelerated. It is now for each and every one of us to consolidate on this achievement and work harder in ensuring improvement in democracy in our community. Therefore, we must summon up the courage, perseverance and determination to pursue and intensify reforms aimed at boosting the input of Parliament in the integration process.”

Earlier, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Marcel de Souza, thanked President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for her unwavering commitment to the ideals of regional integration.

De Souza, who was represented by Vice President Edward Singhatey, said, “The Gambian crisis shows once again the relevance of enhancing your powers, Mr. Speaker and Honorable Members of the Parliament, and underscores the importance of the role you played and you will be called upon to play as custodians of democratic values, good governance and agents of democratic consolidation.”

De Souza disclosed that in pursuant of institutional reforms called by the Chairperson Sirleaf, the commission was able to save about U$12 million in operational costs of its institutions in 2016.

He also said that the efficient cost control measures had been implemented to make the organization more effective and credible.

During Friday’s opening session, new members of the regional legislative body were also sworn in.
Nat Bayjay