March 23, 2021

Rt. Hon Sidie Mohamed Tunis, Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament has expressed displeasure for the low remittance of Community Levy by member states.

Speaking on Tuesday, March 23, 2021 in Freetown Sierra Leon, during the ECOWAS Parliament’s Seminar with the theme, “Involvement of Members of the ECOWAS Parliament in Monitoring the application of the Protocol relating to the Community Levy”, he said the Community levy is meant to mobilize funds required for the accomplishment of the missions of the Parliament and other ECOWAS Institutions.

And explained that the 0.5% levy, imposed on goods from non-ECOWAS Member States, is intended to cater for around 80% of the Community’s budget revenue.

He also noted that the theme, to which MPs are invited today, as they have noted, hinges on the implementation of the Protocol relating to the Community Levy.

“In this regard, I recall that the Community Levy is a mechanism set up by ECOWAS Heads of States and Government and has been operational since 2003.”

“Sadly, we are witnessing a low mobilization of the said resources which has been around 30% of forecasts over the past three years.

Additionally, the import receipts on which the Community Levy is based have also dwindled due to the impact of the health crisis on the global economy.

“Faced with such a difficulty and with the peril which threatens the implementation of community projects and programmes, as well as the execution of the activities of the Community institutions, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, on the occasion of our Second Extraordinary Session for year 2020, held via video conference, in July 2020, requested the assistance of the Parliament in the implementation of the ECOWAS Protocol on the Community Levy.

The seminar therefore forms part of the continuation of Parliament’s efforts to make a significant contribution to the resolution of this priority challenge.

It, therefore, offers all of us the opportunity to make relevant and innovative proposals, and thus provide the full complement of the effectiveness of parliamentary action, he stated.

“We are therefore entreated during our discussions, to define an intervention framework for parliamentarians in the strategy of mobilizing the said resources and to find the means to achieve the effective application of the ECOWAS Protocol, because, the Community Levy is the very expression of the solidarity and responsibility of our respective Governments in the process of integration and in the achievement of the regional agenda”.

He said that ECOWAS’ ambition to build a prosperous and peaceful community space is irreversible; adding that the results obtained in the common market is very appreciable.

On COVID-19 pandemic, he encouraged citizens to get vaccinated massively, concluding that, “we either win together or perish together”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/