Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - ECOWAS Commission President Kadre Desire Ouedraogo has received a draft legal instrument for the enhancement of the powers of the Community’s 120-member Parliament, the Commission said in a statement Wednesday.
The President used the opportunity to extol the importance of the institution to regional integration.
“The parliament is a key institution of the Community that has an important role to play in our integration process,” he said while receiving the draft Supplementary Act from ECOWAS Parliament Speaker Ike Ekwereremadu at the Commission headquarters in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, Tuesday.
The draft Act was the outcome of a study undertaken at the behest of the parliament, in compliance with Article 4 of the Supplementary Protocol on the parliament which provides that the powers of the institution “shall be progressively enhanced from advisory to co-decision
making and subsequently to a law making role in areas to be defined” by regional leaders.
The 12-year-old institution was set up with a mandate to advise on 13 main areas, including the interconnection of communication links, interconnection of network, public health, common education policy, youth and sports, treaty review, social integration, community citizenship
and social integration among others.
Ambassador Ouedraogo hailed the study as a “major step in the transformation of the parliament” in the spirit of the ECOWAS vision 2020 for a citizen centred community, whose programmes are not only citizen-driven but meant to respond to their yearnings.
While lauding the initiative of the study, he promised to take “all necessary steps to process the proposal through the Community’s decision making structures.”
Earlier, the speaker had solicited the cooperation of the Commission in the campaign to enhance the powers of the parliament, consistent with the spirit of the 2006 transformation of community institutions from which the responsibilities of the parliament were excluded and in order to reflect current trends in other parliaments in Africa.
The draft Act includes proposals in the areas of elections into parliament, oversight responsibilities for the parliament, the possible integration of the parliament into the regional security architecture, the creation of an office of parliamentary ombudsman and the interactions between the parliament and national parliaments.
-0- PANA SEG 1Aug2012