ECOWAS Ministers meet in Abuja

Abuja- Nigeria (PANA) -- ECOWAS Council of Ministers began a meeting in Abuja Tuesday to consider the report of an ad-hoc ministerial Committee on the restructuring of the ECOWAS Fund and the Secretariat.
The meeting will also consider for ratification the report of an ad-hoc ministerial Committee on the selection of statutory appointees that met in Abuja Monday to interview candidates for the position of Financial Controller.
Also on the agenda is the consideration of the report on the draft rules of procedure of the community Court of Justice and amendments proposed by the Court to the protocol establishing it.
Welcoming delegates to the meeting, Nigeria's Minister of Co-operation and Integration in Africa, Bimbola Ogunkelu, said the meeting became necessary because of the "inclusive nature of some important items on the agenda of the last extra-ordinary session held in April this year.
" "It is my hope that we will today approve the appointment of a Financial Controller, following the decision to re-introduce the post because of the critical need to ensure financial prudence in the management of the resources of the Secretariat," he said.
While noting some improvement in the finances of the Secretariat following the implementation of the protocol on the Community Levy, the Minister said "there is still need to appeal to member States which are still to implement the protocol to do so in order to assure adequate resources for the prosecution of community integration programmes.
" He also enjoined the management of the Secretariat to address the concern of the Council in the allocation of funds among programmes of the community, to make the on-going restructuring meaningful.
Ogunkelu also said "management should establish the mechanism for funds allocation among departments and programmes in accordance with extant financial regulations.
" Earlier, the Executive Secretary of ECOWAS, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, underscored the need for the meeting to approve the recruitment of more staff by the Secretariat.
"Not only have many of the personnel posts approved in the 1999 organogramme remained unfilled, the Executive Secretariat requires additional hands to cope with its new and expanding responsibilities particularly as the focal point for NEPAD in West Africa," Chambas said.

27 august 2002 15:12:00

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