Ghana's Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Ms Marietta Brew Appiah-
Oppong has urged experts charged with developing a mechanism for enlarging the
powers of the ECOWAS Parliament to come up with concrete proposals that will
enable the institution influence community legal instruments.
"To make Parliament more effective, it must move from making non-binding
decisions to making binding decisions," the Minister said in a speech to the
opening of a meeting of regional experts which opened in Accra on Monday, 22nd
She also endorsed the proposals in the in the draft Supplementary Protocol
being considered during the five-day meeting for the parliament to be involved
in approving the budget of the Community and statutory appointees.
The Attorney General and Minister of Justice was represented by the Chief
State Attorney, Mr Samuel Nerguaye-Tetteh.
The meeting is being attended by experts from ministries of justice, national
focal points responsible for ECOWAS affairs in Member States and members of
In his address, ECOWAS Commission’s Vice President, Dr. Toga Gayewea McIntosh
flagged two possible challenges based on the 38 years of regional integration
These are in the areas of enforcement of laws to be made by the parliament
considering the difficulty experienced with the ratification and domestication
of regional instruments and the role of parliament in realizing the objectives
of the regional vision of a citizen-driven community.
"There is no divided opinion that the community parliament is indeed the
institution that is well placed to acquaint community citizens with our vision
and take home the ECOWAS project in order to gain their full support,"
affirmed the Vice President who chairs the Commission’s internal Committee on
the enhancement project.
Describing the meeting as part of continuing efforts at "capacitating our
parliament to play its assigned role in our regional integration and
development process, " he urged the experts to consider various implications
of the proposed enhancement and "come up with realistic and pragmatic
“The task ahead of us is clear and we must join hands and work assiduously to
empower the Community Parliament and enable that esteemed and honorable organ
take its rightful place in the ECOWAS family of decision making and action
oriented institutions," Dr. McIntosh added.
The Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Senator Ike Ekweremadu said the
institution inaugurated in 2000, has matured from the periphery of decision
making into a "formidable tool for the promotion of the goals of the Community
for a prosperous and secure region."
He also explained that the draft Act to be considered by the experts "embodies
a series of proposals which I believe will primarily deepen the involvement of
the Parliament with its traditional constituency, the Community citizens and
permit the parliament to effectively channel their aspirations into Community
The Speaker said the Parliament does not "seek to appropriate new competences
from Member States and shift them to the ECOWAS Community but rather seeks to
optimize the existing competence of the Community through the reorganization
of mandate among community institutions."
In his goodwill message to the meeting, the Speaker of Ghana's Parliament,
Honourable Edward Korbly Doe Adjaho argued that enhanced powers would enable
the Parliament to provide leadership for political dialogue to support the
implementation of community protocols and regulations.
"An empowered Community parliament will be able to approach age-old challenges
from a different perspective and do so with good results," he said in the
speech read by the first Deputy Speaker Ebo Barton-Odro.
The five day meeting will consider the provisions of the draft Act and make
proposals for operationalising them as well as discuss its implications based
of the existing power arrangements.