Ministers want part of Community Levy to fund infrastructural project in West Africa

Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - Ministers in charge of infrastructure in ECOWAS member states have recommended the utilisation of part of the proceeds of the Community Levy, a 0.5 per cent levy on imports from outside the region for financing the organisation’s operations, exclusively to fund regional infrastructure projects.

In a resolution at the end of their meeting in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire, last weekend, the ministers also called for capacity building of the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) to enable it play a key role as a regional funding instrument for member states in this sector.

The ministers, in endorsing the report of the two-day experts meeting on the Programme of Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), which preceded the ministerial session, also urged technical and financial partners and donors to accord “high priority to capacity building within
the framework of any financial or technical assistance given to ECOWAS,” especially for the development of infrastructure, which is considered key to regional economic development and integration.

According to an ECOWAS Commission statement on the meeting's resolutions, the African Union, NEPAD and the African Development Bank were also urged to support the implementation of ECOWAS Infrastructure projects.

The ministerial meeting validated a wide-ranging number of infrastructure projects, covering air, land and rail transportation, ICT sectors as well as gas and electricity connectivity projects to be implemented between 2012 and 2020, all at the estimated cost of US$107.5 million.

The recommendations/resolutions would be forwarded to the Council of Ministers for adoption and then to the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government for approval.

The Yamoussoukro meetings highlighted the objectives of the PIDA and how it aligns with the continental strategic programming.

They were also meant to sensitise member states on West Africa’s component of the PIDA Priority Action Plan (PIDA-PAP) and regional development plans to help drive the domestication of PIDA projects in national plans and budgetary provisions.

Adopted by the African Union and NEPAD leaders in January 2012, PIDA is based on the premise that a projected annual economic growth rate of 6% for African countries would translate into six-fold increase in GDP for all countries, with the average per capita income expected to rise above US$10,000 in the next 30 years.

This is expected to result in an increase in the infrastructure demand in all sectors.
-0- PANA SEG 14Nov2012

14 november 2012 14:36:57

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