The National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS) and the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) on Monday signed 1.28 million dollars grant to enhance capacity of parliamentarians in West Africa.
Signing the agreement on Monday in Abuja, President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, said the grant would strengthen financial oversight functions of parliaments, for the deepening of democratic processes in sub-region.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the signing of the agreement was the second phase of the grant. The first phase was signed in March, 2014.
“You may recall that on March 27, 2014, we witnessed the signing of a grant of 900, 000 dollars from the ACBF and a contribution of 700,000 dollars from the National Assembly.
“This is to jointly support the implementation of the first phase of the NILS Capacity-Building Project (NILS-CAP I).
“The first phase which covered a two-year period from 2014 to 2016 was a national project with a sub-regional outlook.
“As part of its sub-regional outlook, the project focused on capacity-building for the National Parliaments of the member-countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the ECOWAS Parliament.
“The project which targeted legislators and parliamentary staff in the West African sub-region ensured that capacity gaps were bridged to improve governance systems for sustainable development in the sub-region,’’ he said.
Saraki noted that NILS-CAP II was further targeted toward capacity development in ECOWAS countries and the ECOWAS Parliament.
He said that it was also to effectively facilitate the implementation of intra-regional trade among ECOWAS member states and effective financial oversight in the sub region.
According to him, other important sub-themes for consideration included regional trade, resolution of challenges impeding effective trade integration and security challenges in ECOWAS.
Saraki said that the 8th National Assembly had worked on freeing markets by enacting laws that improved the ease of doing business and promoting competitiveness of the industries to provide platform for economic growth and development.
On his part, Executive Secretary of ACFB, Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie, said that partnership with the national assembly began in 2004 with the development of the then “Policy Analysis and Research Project (PARP)’’.
According to him, the grant was to consolidate and expand on NILS’ regional activities thereby making the institute a special partner of the Foundation.
Nnadozie said the project for which the grant was signed was a regional programme that would build capacity of parliamentarians in Nigeria and ECOWAS countries in the areas of financial oversight and governance.
“Cumulatively, ACBF has invested a total grant amount in excess of 30 million dollars to support national and regional capacity-building activities in Nigeria.
“We have been able to achieve this with funding support from African governments; the Nigerian Government has been a solid supporter of the ACBF,” Nnadozie said.
He noted that during the just-concluded African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa, the foundation was formally appointed as a specialised agency of the AU responsible for capacity development in Africa.
Also speaking, the Director-General of NILS, Prof. Ladi Hamalai, noted that the collaboration had over the years helped to scale up legislative capacity development in Nigeria and the West African sub-region.
“I must laud the ACBF’s continuous support to NILS and the significant role in strengthening national parliaments toward sustainable development in West African.”