- Category: Latest
- Wednesday, 01 August 2012
- By Elombah.com
The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Ambassador Kadre Desire Ouedraogo has received a draft legal instrument for the enhancement of the powers of the Community’s 120-member Parliament and used the opportunity to extol the value 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 at a ceremony during which he received the draft Supplementary Act from the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Honourable Ike Ekwereremadu at the Commission on Tuesday, 31st July 2012 in Abuja.
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 ion 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 has 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 internationally acceptable best practice is to democratize the integration process by having a legislative parliament that will make laws and conduct oversight in order to enhance transparency, accountability and proper separation of powers,” the speaker told the President.
The speaker said a parliament with enhanced powers was one of the legacies the present leadership of the Parliament wants to bequeath to the community and called for the ‘active partnership, support and understanding’ of the President in order to ‘turn the page of regional governance through the timely adoption of the draft Supplementary Act on the Parliament.’
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.