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“It is not COVID-19 making ECOWAS Parliament think outside the box”---Ayariga

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament starts its second extraordinary session today via video conferencing with the Bureau meeting, which would be followed by the conference of Committee Bureau.   

And the first rapporteur on the Committee of Political Affairs, Peace, Security and African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Mahama Ayariga has debunked the accession that but for COVID-19, the Community Parliament would not have been thinking outside the box. 

According to him, globally, everybody is resorting to virtual meetings, “we are just doing what everybody is doing”, and said it is a cheaper way for the organisation as it would not have to pay for transport and also the inconveniences of traveling.

Mr. Ayariga further noted that the human interaction may no longer be there and added that at the end of the meeting there would be an assessment to evaluate the effectiveness of the technology.

“There are three official languages English, French and Portuguese let us wait and see how effective it would be and how many people would be able to participate, it is a good experiment and good trying to do something whiles we wait for the borders to be reopen”, he said ahead of today’s  meeting.  

He further revealed that the main agenda of the extraordinary meeting is to look at compliance of countries within the sub-region with the payment of the levies in the COVID-19 environment and how it has affected trade and import volumes, as countries are implementing all kind of stimulus measures with COVID draining their finances and collapsing their economy especially the tourism and other sectors. 

Again, he noted that there had been earlier  meetings held with the zoom technology and waiting to see how the session would take place, and gave assurance that preparations have been put in place to ensure that technologically the meeting becomes successful. 

Mr. Mahama Ayariga further revealed that trade has not been affected as goods can actually move around the sub-region with trucks carrying them across the borders as those involve in the haulage of goods can move freely.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ 

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