ECOWAS Parliament Convenes Extraordinary Session

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The Fourth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament over the weekend convened its first extraordinary session for the Year 2017 in Abuja.

Both Speaker of 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 impasse in The Gambia.

A release from the Liberian Embassy in Abuja says Liberia’s five representatives to the parliament were all present for the ongoing five-day working session that commenced at the parliament’s headquarters in Abuja on Friday, February 10.

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 session, the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, 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 was achieved, particularly the adoption of the Supplementary Act, which is being considered as a major landmark towards the full integration of the region.

According to the release, the extraordinary session adopted the draft report for the implementation of the Supplementary Act relating to the enhancement of its powers.

Adopted at the 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.

The Speaker said “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 Sirleaf for her unwavering commitment to the ideals of regional integration.

The release quotes the President of the ECOWAS Commission, who was represented by his Vice, Edward Singhatey, as saying, “The Gambian crisis shows once again the relevance of enhancing your powers, 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 pursuit of institutional reforms called by the Chairperson of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, Madam 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, the release said.

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