ECOWAS parliament reviews $284.9m community budget

The ECOWAS Parliament has begun the review of the ECOWAS community 2018 draft budget of 284.9 million dollars.

The draft budget was presented before the parliament by the Administration and Finance Committee (AFC) at the parliament’s ongoing Second Ordinary Session in Abuja on Wednesday.

The parliament’s Adhoc Committee on the consideration of the draft 2018 community budget of the parliament convened to begin consideration of the budget.

The committee was, however, unable to make progress as members of parliament insisted on more details of the budget from the AFC before considering it.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that this is the first time the parliament is reviewing the overall budget of the ECOWAS community.

The parliament’s review of the community budget is a new mandate it has following the adoption of the Supplementary Act by the Authority of Heads of State in December 2016.

Mr Edwin Snowe, a member of the Administration, Finance and Budget Control Committee of the parliament, however, said that the parliament could currently give its opinion on the budget.

“”The way the text (Supplementary Act) is written for now we (the parliament) can only render an opinion; nothing from the parliament is binding.

“”It is a gradual process; we are being accommodated partially.

““We render an opinion that goes to the council of ministers, that opinion is subject to the council’s opinion; in other words, they (council of ministers) can or decide they won’t take that opinion.

“”The council gives the final approve for the budget, as informed by the Head of States.”

Snowe, who is also a member of the parliament’s Adhoc Committee on the consideration of the draft 2018 community budget, said that that 65 per cent of the 2017 budget had been so far implemented.

“”The 2017 budget year hasn’t ended yet; we are in the fourth quarter.

“”The way ECOWAS generates funds from the Community Levy and it comes either on a quarterly or monthly basis depending on who is paying at a particular time.

“”Up till date we have not received the full amount (of the levy) as expected but the budget performance, though has not been encouraging, it has picked up.

“ “The last time we attended the AFC on the 2017 Budget, we were still operating with about 65 per cent of the budget.”

NAN reports that the total income, so far, for the 2017 community budget stood at about 267.9 million and the current expenditure stood at approximately 230.2 million dollars.

Out of the 230.2 million-dollar expenditure, the commission has so far spent 146.3 million dollars, the parliament 19.86 million dollars and the Community Court of Justice 17.2 million dollars.”

The West African Health Organisation has spent 33.1 million dollars and the Intergovernmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa had spent 13.65 million dollars.

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