Hon Mahama Ayariga
December 1, 2022
Speaker ECOWAS Parliament left Chair Authority of Heads of States right

The first rapporteur of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Committee on Political Affairs, Peace, Security and African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Mahama Ayariga has said the sub-regional bloc should have a strong standing army.

According to him some countries have demonstrated that they are just incapable of internally dealing with the issues of peace and security, they need the sub-region to intervene in those areas.

He further pointed out in an interview that an army that is adequately resourced, capable and can play an effective role in this regard but they need resources.

But as to whether his call is not late in coming, he said “I agree with you, but noted that better late than never, and it’s a question of resources”. He believes there are new emerging areas we can tap into for taxing to support the sub-region. For instance, “we have telecommunications, across the sub-region. The telecom industry is playing a major role in the sub-regional countries and taxing it and keeping the resources to themselves”.

He questioned, how about if we can find away and say okay if there are calls across the sub-region, those calls going to the sub-region that portion of it should go to the sub-regional organisation.

“For instance, when he calls Ghana now, there should be some tax that goes to ECOWAS because if the sub-region is functioning very well it will reduce a lot of transaction cost for businesses and individuals. There are many people across the sub-region whose family are from one part of the sub- region and live in another part of the sub region.

“So whatever happen in one part of the sub- region affects everybody, what affects his constituency in Ghana will affect neighboring constituencies in let’s say Burkina Faso and whatever happen in Burkina affects him directly same way in Togo he does business in other parts of the sub-region”.

And because he is directly affected over what happens in one sub-regional country, he will not mind strengthening the sub- regional government to be able to provide peace and security in every part of the sub- region, he emphasised.
“So that, I can travel to Northern Nigeria in peace, if the government of Nigeria is in difficulties, I do expect the entire government of West Africa to be there to help; same with Burkina Faso and I think every citizen of the sub- region is really willing to make some contribution to achieve this”.

On who should kick start the debate for additional funding, he noted that as we having these discussions we are putting forward ideas and we are saying, “can we tax the telecom industry and whatever other industry we will be able to pull resources from to be able to support the sub-regional government and what is available”.

In addition, he questioned if the levy can be fully accounted for as it’s important that also the Authority of Heads of States and Governments, should seriously consider giving away power to some sub-regional institutions so that, they can be effective. For instance in the area of security if they really give some national powers to a sub-regional police force, military force he believes that it will be very effective. Sometimes within countries they have their internal weakness; there are police force that they cannot quite control internally but sub-regional force may be able to rise above some of these things and stamp their authority.

On the behavior of nationals to make sure that those attitude and tendencies do not undermine peace and security in the sub- region, he said if everybody in the sub- region knew that, “if I miss conducted myself here, I do not have to contend with the government of my country, I am going to be visited by a sub- regional enforcement agencies they will calculate twice before they do the things they are doing”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com