By Chinelo Chikelu, Abuja
ECOWAS Parliament has adopted the 284, 909,801 UA 2018 draft budget of the community equivalent to N122bn. The draft budget is heavily dependent on the ECOWAS Community Levy (CL).
According to the Central Bank of Nigeria, a West African Unit of Account stands at N430.
The 2018 Draft Community Budget was presented for adoption at the parliament four days after it’s appraisal, by an Adhoc Committee set-up to review the document.
The budget indicates a 16, 966, 138 UA increase from the 267,943,662 UA 2017 budget. However, as at September 30, 2017 only 110, 000, 000 UA had been realized, 70 per cent of which came from community levies.
The proposed 2018 draft budget of the community still relies heavily on community levy which accounts for about 96.24 percent of the region’s budget.
The parliament recommended an effective implementation of the Protocol on Community Levy by member states.
According to the adopted draft budget report by the institution, “the 2017 financial year shows a relatively low recovery rate of the community levy, thus jeopardizing the implementation of the activities of the community’s institutions.”
While it appealed to parliamentarians whose countries are yet to pay their levies to intercede with their respected governments to comply, the institution observed that imposing sanctions or strong actions against member states, as well as exploring other sources of funding as the way forward.
It further noted the draft budget’s lack of compliance with the community’s 60 per cent for programmes and 40 per cent operating cost, the parliament called for a return to the stipulated ratio. It encouraged all actors within the budget management to ‘exercise due diligence during implementation.’
Speaker Moustapha Cissè Lo who described the parliament’s first-time review of the community’s budget, a result of its increased powers since December 2016, “a learning experience” commended ECOWAS authorities for the opportunity to play such role.
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