July 26, 2020

Speaker of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Rt. Honorable Sidie Mohamed Tunis has urged lawmakers not to restrict their duties only to parliamentary meetings and other activities.

According to him, they should remain Community lawmakers wherever they find themselves and endeavor to preach the ideals of ECOWAS at all times and in all places.

He made this remarks on Saturday, July 25, 2020 when he drew down the curtains to the Second Extra Ordinary meeting which was held virtually via Zoom from July 20 to 25, 2020 to consider some referrals made to the Parliament by the ECOWAS Commission.

Mr. Tunis thanked the President of the Commission, Community lawmakers, Secretary-General, Directors and staff of the Parliament for making the virtual session a success.

The Speaker pointed out that resumption in flight operations leading to the continuation of Parliamentary activities is not a guarantee that life has returned to normal, as the coronavirus is very much present and has the capacity to wreak havoc.

He further noted that, the world is reopening due to additional knowledge about how the virus spreads, leading to more knowledge about preventive measures.

“Should the situation permit us to resume executing our programmes, which I hope would be soon, we would devise our own internal preventive mechanisms in addition to what is already in place. As we desire to serve our people, we are determined to ensure that we protect the individual MPs from likely infection in the course of discharging their community responsibilities, and I pledge to do the needful in that regard”.

As it is difficult for Parliament to predict when the situation would improve significantly enough for annual activities of the Parliament to commence, despite infection rates, the world is ready to co-exist with the virus pending the discovery of a vaccine, he added.

And noted that, economic activities are opening up, with several airports around the world and the sub-region inclusive have reopened especially for local operations.

“We are expecting that in the coming weeks, international operations may commence and air links between our member states would be restored. Only when that happens can we as a Parliament take another look at our activities and determine those that can be executed in the remaining part of the year”.

The Speaker in his closing speech acknowledged that there is a lot of work to be done out there, as the Community citizens are wallowing in poverty which has further been compounded by the downward trend in economic activities occasioned by the prevailing pandemic.

In addition, the sub-region is under the threat of hunger, despite being in the rainy season, restriction is occasioned by the pandemic and farming activities have become difficult.

He urged the Community lawmakers to fashion out a way of proposing cushioning the effects as the remaining part of this year and early next year would be highly challenging economically and socially.

Mr. Tunis also called on lawmakers to collaborate with their governments both at the national and regional levels to ensure that they protect the interest of the Community people and work towards easing affairs during the anticipated difficult period.

Rt. Honorable Tunis further underscored the need for medical workers to be protected to enable them discharge their duties and appealed to governments, donor organisation and wealthy individuals to assist in providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs).

This, he noted, would boost the morale of health workers and give them adequate attitude to give their best as it would help in mitigating fatalities during this very difficult times.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com