By Victoria Ojeme

The 2022 financial estimates of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament will be financed almost solely from community levy.

The Federal Government of Nigeria last year said it has paid over 1,177 billion dollars to ECOWAS as its Community Levy contribution in the last 16 years.

Nigeria’s payment represents 40.42 per cent of the total payment of 2,913,088,908 dollars payment made by all the 15 member states and is higher than payments made by 12 other countries put together except Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.

According to documents from a presentation by the ECOWAS Commission to Parliament at Plenary during its Virtual Second Extraordinary Session, Nigeria paid 853,310,564 UA (West Africa Unit of Account) for the period under review.

The West African Unit of Account (WAUA) is the authorised currency used in ECOWAS.

Ghana paid about 508,577 million dollars, Cote d’Ivoire 347,262 million dollars, while Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Gambia, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo paid a total of 879,711 million dollars.

Ghana’s payment represents 17.45 per cent of the total sum, Cote d’Ivoire 11.9 per cent, while the cumulative payment by the other 12 countries represents 30.1 per cent.

Within the period under review, Guinea Bissau paid the lowest amount of 6, 204 million dollars, representing 0.2 per cent of total community levy proceeds in the 16 years under review.

A statement from the parliament today said that 99.92 per cent of funding for the over 20 million (20,401,258) Units of Account (UA) 2022 budget will come from levies.

The ECOWAS Parliament’s Administration disclosed its adopted 2022 draft budget on Tuesday during its Second Extraordinary Session held in Winneba, Ghana.

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According to the Parliament, while the 99.92 per cent which amounts to the sum of UA 20,386,0009 will be funded from Community Levy, 0.8 per cent which amounts to UA 16,249 will come from other sources.

The Parliament also disclosed that the 2022 budget is with zero percent increase from its 2021 budget.

The non-increase in its 2022 budget is explained to be as a result of direct impact of the current COVID-10 pandemic and political challenges within the sub-region on Community Levy projection.

“The projected revenue of Parliament for the 2022 fiscal year, stands at UA 20,401,258.

“Out of this amount, the sum of UA 20,385,009, or 99.92 per cent, will be funded from community levy proceeds, while UA 16,249 or 0.8 per cent will come from other sources.

“Out of this amount, the sum of UA 247,025 or 1 per cent is estimated for Governing Bodies, UA 6,926,460 or 34 per cent is estimated for Administrative expenses.

“UA 13,025,781 or 64 per cent is estimated for programmes and UA 201,993 or 1 per cent is estimated for contingency.”

Dr Sidie Tunis, Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament in an interview with journalists said that it is possible that over 99 per cent of the budget will be funded with proceeds from Community levy as countries are cooperating in their payment.

“I know a lot of countries are now cooperating with the community levies and it is absolutely possible to meet the 99.92 per cent funding of the budget from community levy.

“Even countries like Cape Verde who normally lack behind in payment, while I was here, I engaged them.

“And they said immediately after their elections, they are going to have a conversation with the Commission for them to start to pay,” Tunis said.

On exhausting the 2021 budget which stands at 47 per cent of execution as at September, Tunis said that the ECOWAS Parliament would implement all programmes captured in the 2021 budget.

Tunis explained that Parliament’s programs were executed at that pace because of the COVID-19 situation, adding that the lives of Parliamentarians and Staff remains his priority.

The Speaker however noted that programs captured in the 2022 budget will be executed in due time.

“People have to understand that this is COVID time, and because of the COVID, there are restrictions on what we do and what we do not do.

“As a Parliament, we know that meeting physically is the only way we can actually implement our programmes.

“We are trying our level best and you can see that up till September, we have already done 47 per cent in the implementation of our budget performance.

“But at the same time, we have to take into consideration that this is COVID time, and the safety and health of Members is very paramount to me.

“And I have to be very careful on how I place the timeline of COVID in implementing our budget.

“But 2022, definitely, I am trying my level best to make sure we implement our programmes in full and carry out our oversight programme,” Tunis said.

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