March 23, 2021

The Speaker of the Parliament of Sierra Leone, Rt. Hon. Dr. Abass Chernor Bundu has on Tuesday, March 23, 2021 at the Bintumani Conference Center in Freetown, officially opened the First Parliamentary Seminar of the Fifth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament in the year, 2021.

The aforesaid Parliamentary Seminar is themed: “Involving Members of the ECOWAS Parliament in monitoring the implementation of the protocol relating to the community levy”. It is being held ahead of its extraordinary session in Freetown scheduled for March 29, 2021.

 ECOWAS Revised Treaty of 1993, Article 72 of the said Treaty provides for Community Levy for the purposes of generating resources to finance community activities. It shall be a percentage of the total value of import duty derivable from imported goods from third countries outside the community, 0.5 percent levy was determined by the Council, conditions for the application of the levy, transfer and utilization of revenue generated in the form of community levy shall be defined in the relevant protocol, and that Member States are to undertake the facilitation and application of the provisions in this Article.

Welcoming participants, Head of Sierra Leone’s Delegation to ECOWAS Parliament and Leader of the Opposition in Sierra Leone Parliament, Chernor R.M Bah thanked the Government and the people of Sierra Leone for supporting Sidie M. Tunis for his elevation and election to the position of ECOWAS Speaker for the Fifth Legislature of ECOWAS Parliament, constituted in Niamey, Niger last year.

Speaking on the disruption of planned activities by COVID-19, he assured participants that Sierra Leone is full of warm and friendly people with a unique traveling experience of air, land and sea.

Submitting on security, freedom and safety, he called on participants to explore the charming coast of Sierra Leone and also talked about the challenges the country had gone through mentioning war, mudslide and Ebola.

Commissioner of Finance, ECOWAS Commission, Madam Halima Ahmed spoke on behalf of the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, and joined Bah in welcoming participants to this very important seminar relating to increasing contributions regarding the Community Levy.

Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Francis Kaikai described the movement of the Extraordinary Session of ECOWAS Parliament to Sierra Leone as a major honour and achievement for the country. However, he observed that the country is at peace now, but it was today 23/03/1991 that the war broke out and claimed many lives and property.

He also talked on the construction of ECOWAS Depot at Lungi for the enhancement of security in the sub-region and a joint border post between Sierra Leone and Liberia to facilitate trade among Member States.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/