Recession: Buhari Urges ECOWAS to Cut Administration Costs in All Its Institutions - EazyFeeds

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Sunday 18 December 2016

Recession: Buhari Urges ECOWAS to Cut Administration Costs in All Its Institutions

President Muhammadu Bu­hari has urged the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to cut admin­istration costs in all its institutions and focus on programmes that affect the lives of the citizens posi­tively.

Buhari who made the call yes­terday in Abuja at the 50th Ordi­nary Summit of the Authority of Heads of States Meeting called for the review of ECOWAS Treaty in order to make ECOWAS respon­sive to new national, regional and global challenges.

“In addition, the cost of gov­ernance must be reduced across all ECOWAS institutions while resources should be devoted to programs and projects that will have direct bearing on the lives of ordinary citizenry and create jobs fast enough to absorb our teeming youth population.”

The President said ECOWAS needs to make conscious efforts to improve on governance and ac­countability at all levels adding that this calls for the speedy conclusion of the reforms of all ECOWAS in­stitutions to put ECOWAS on a much stronger footing and prepare us for the challenges of such insti­tutional reforms.

To this end, he said “ we should ensure that priority is given to the implementation of development Programmes , while ECOWAS Parliament should be entrusted with more functions.

Also worried by the low trade volume in the region, the President called on the member countries to diversify their economy.

He said, “today most of our countries continue to record low volume of trade , occasioned by de­clining level of economic activities, caused by the sharp fall in com­modity prices. While oil prices fell by an outstanding 57% between June 2014 and January 2015 , other commodity prices have also weak­ened sharply thereby putting pres­sure on the current account and fiscal balances of our countries.

“This ugly situation demands that we diversify our respective economies from commodities into other sectors such as banking, construction and telecommunica­tions and most importantly Agro-processing, manufacturing and services. As we adjust to a more challenging globalized environ­ment, stronger efforts are required to increase domestic revenue mo­bilization in our countries and community institutions.”

“Member states must diversify their economies away from trade in commodities towards devel­oping robust infrastructure that will support manufacturing and industrialization . To this end , I urge the community to invest more in infrastructure and Human Resources so as to unleash the po­tentials that exist in our respective economies and in our people,”the president said.

On tension in Mali, Guinea-Bissau and Burkina Faso, the presi­dent said they have substantially enhanced capacity for dealing with conflict as amply demonstrated in the quick intervention of the com­munity to douse tension and re­store peace these countries.

He said,” as we deepen our dem­ocratic experience, promote good governance and address inequality, I urge us to devote more resources to early warning mechanisms in order to develop an effective con­flict prevention strategy.

“We also need a stronger po­litical will for peace-keeping opera­tions in our sub-region as we have done in the past,” he added.

The Chairperson of the Author­ity of ECOWAS Heads of State Government, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said that ECOWAS is committed to Carrying out institutional re­forms .

“I can confirm that the Presi­dent of the commission is taking firm action to rationalize the struc­ture of the commission and to con­tain cost through more efficient fi­nancial management and effective use of resources consistent with the current economic situation.

“The reform process is driven by the Maxwell Stamp Consul­tants, who have proposed concrete reform processes to decentralize functions and introduce business like services . This is consistent with our vision of providing ser­vices that impact the lives of com­munity citizens.”

“We commend the decision of the Commission President to embark on Phase 2 of the deliver­ables of the Maxwell Stamp Report dealing with job classifications and staffing needs,” she said.

On security events, she said, “ we remain very concerns about the Boko Haram recurring attacks in Nigeria and other countries of the Lake Chad Basin adding that there is equal concern regarding terror­ist attacks on civilians and military targets in Mali.

According to her, the negative impact of these attacks does not take away from the significant progress of President Kieta and his Government in the implementa­tion of the Malian Peace and Rec­onciliation Agreements.

She however said that the Chiefs of Defense Staff at recent regional meetings, have formulated stra­tegic security interventions to ad­dress these terrorist activities.

Another challenge in the region share said is the Transhumance security, which has resulted in the loss of lives and negative impact on regional food security.

“I am pleased that the Commis­sion has taken the necessary ac­tions to address this challenge from a human security perspective. In this regard, the Authority expects an integrated approach which will support the Commission’s efforts at deepening Regional Livestock Movement Management Control System, noting that the Nigerian approach to managing its Transhu­mance challenges is a model that can be shared at bilateral levels with other Member States encountering the same problems,” the chair said.

Commenting on the situation in Gambia, Liberian President said, “ With respect to the Gam­bia, on December 1, the people of the Republic of The Gambia voted decisively for a change in the political leadership of the coun­try by electing the candidate of a seven-party Opposition Coalition. On the same date, the incumbent President conceded to the result of the election and congratulated the elected President. On December 10, the incumbent President re­scinded his concession and called for a fresh vote.

In response, on December 13, an ECOWAS Mission which I headed and comprising Presidents John Mahama, Muhammadu Buhari and Ernest Bai Koroma, accompa­nied by Dr. Mohamed Chambas, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General to West Africa and the Sahel, proceeded to Banjul to mediate with the concerned par­ties toward a resolution that would respect the will of the people.

The Mission was successful in its consultative effort by holding meetings with the President, the President Elect and all the other relevant stakeholders. It is now im­portant that the Authority, at this Summit, considers recommended measures to bring this matter to successful conclusion before Janu­ary 19, the constituted date when the mandate of the incumbent President expires.”

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