Mrs Halima Ahmed, Commissioner for Finance at the ECOWAS Commission made the revelation on Monday in Lome, Togo, where she gave an overview of the Community’s 2020 Consolidated Annual Financial Report, which highlighted the 2020 audited financial statements and Auditor’s Opinion.
Members of the Community Parliament’s joint committees of Public Accounts/Administration, Finance and Budget/Macroeconomic Policies and Economic Research/ Trade, Customs and Free Movement are having a delocalised meeting to brainstorm on the implementations of ECOWAS Institutions and Agencies
In accordance with Article 9 and 11 of the Supplementary Act, 2016, the Community Parliament must be consulted for their Opinion on the audited financial reports of ECOWAS institutions and agencies. However, where the Parliament fails to give an Opinion within the stipulated period, the parliament is deemed to have given in an opinion.
According to Ahmed the revenue accrued to the Community from all sources decreased by about 13 million UA (Unit of Account), representing 5 percent, from 257 million UA in 2019 to 244 million UA in 2020.
Internet research defines Unit of Account (UA) as a monetary denomination used for accounting purposes, etc, but not necessarily corresponding to any real currency. Unit of account is also the unit of currency of a country.
“This decrease for 2020 is appreciated for the following reasons: Community levy decreased about 33 million (about 15 percent) from 218 million in 2019 to 195 million in 2020. And this significant drop is due to the Covid-19,” Mrs Halima Ahmed told the joint committees’ meeting.
However, she adds that with the improved economic activities, there has been appreciable improvement in the Community Levy in 2021 Fiscal Year.
“The Revenue from development partners increased by 13 million (37 percent) from 35 million in 2019 to 48 million in 2020. The rise is attributed to receipt of more funds in 2020, especially from WAHO, due to the Covid-19.
In terms of expense, the total expense for all Community institutions increased by 135 million (81 percent) from 166 million in 2019 to 301 million in 2020. “The huge expense in 2020 was due to the provision of debt of 134 million made in the financial statement, in respect of long outstanding receivables from Member States.”
She gave assurances of the Management’s commitment to improve the quality of ECOWAS Financial reporting across the Community’s institutions and agencies. She further thanked Committees’ members for their efforts in entrenching transparency and accountability in ECOWAS Financial Management oversight.
In the opinion of the external auditors, as read out by Halima Ahmed, the financial statements have a true and fair view of the financial position of ECOWAS (Community) as at 31st December 2020.