The Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament, Rt. Hon. Sidie Mohamed Tunis has decried the resurgence of COVID-19 in the continent, saying that
states across the ECOWAS region and the world are recording more cases and unfortunately, new strains of the virus are being discovered, making it difficult to bring the pandemic under control.
He said that while the sub-region celebrates the development of vaccines, he still wishes to call on our citizens to avoid complacency and continue to observe all the existing health protocols.
Hon. Tunis said this at the 2020 2nd Ordinary Session of ECOWAS Parliament holding virtually.
He said, “It is our shared desire to hold our plenary sessions again as provided for by the Supplementary Act.
Much as we had hoped to meet in person, our singular most important and powerful enemy, COVID-19, has again denied us the pleasantries that go with meeting together. The Pandemic still lingers and is having devastating social and economic consequences on our citizens.
“Regulations and restrictions previously imposed and relaxed are being reinforced. If the current trend continues, we are likely to see the imposition of more stringent measures aimed at curtailing the spread of the virus.
“These protocols, which include the constant washing of hands under running water, wearing of face mask, maintaining social distance and respiratory hygiene, have proven very effective in curbing the spread of the disease and we must continue to practice them at all times.
“Nevertheless the crisis, I am convinced, we will emerge stronger and more united.
“The challenges brought upon us by COVID- 19 must become an opportunity for change: a change that leaves no one behind; a change that makes our region a model of solidarity and sustainability.
“I wish to recall that though the pandemic greatly imparted our operations last year and still continues to have its toll on our programs, Parliament, however, acted with determination and swiftly implemented the necessary steps to continue its work under the current circumstances.
“Parliament can be proud to note that it exercised its prerogatives and continues to maintain democratic accountability throughout the COVID-19 crisis”.
He noted that this session, otherwise known as the “Budget Session”, provides the opportunity, in accordance with provisions of the Supplementary Act, for Parliament to consider the Community’s Budget.
The Speaker said the Parliament is expected to ensure that the estimates are directed towards programs that address the needs of the people.
“Here, I make specific reference to Article 17.2a, which states that “after the consideration of the Budget by the Administration and Finance Committee (AFC), the report of the AFC on the Budget shall be presented to Parliament during the Parliamentary Budget Session.”
“In fulfillment of this statutory responsibility, we are expected to render an opinion, including where necessary, proposals for the amendment to the draft Community Budget”.
He added that it gives him great pleasure to convene the 2nd ordinary session of the year 2020 but holding in 2021.
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