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N°: 109/2013
23 April 2013 [Accra - Ghana]

MINISTER CANVASSES CAPACITATION OF ECOWAS PARLIAMENT

							
	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 
April 2013.

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 
national parliaments.

In his address, ECOWAS Commission’s Vice President, Dr. Toga Gayewea McIntosh 
flagged two possible challenges based on the 38 years of regional integration 
experiences.

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 
recommendations.”

“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 
decisions."

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.


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