ECOWAS Parliamentarians have pledged their commitment to ensure the actualization of Single Currency for the region.
A Member of Parliament from Liberia, Mr. Clarence Massaquoi, stated this in an interview with journalists at the Extraordinary Session of the outgoing Fourth Legislature of ECOWAS Parliament held in Banjul, The Gambia.
He said the parliamentarians, in the Fifth Legislature, will step up on their oversight functions to ensure that member countries meet the convergence criteria for common currency of the region.
The idea of a common currency for the West African region, codenamed “Eco” which was mooted in the hope of boosting cross border trade and economic development has been postponed several times.
Mr. Massaquoi said the Fourth Legislature did not carry out sufficient follow up as its oversight responsibility, on the implementation of the common currency for the region.
“Oversight responsibility is a major function of any legislative body; we had conferences; we had sessions in Senegal concerning the Single Currency, we had presentations from the commission and those presentations in my opinion were brilliantly presented.”
“Now following up those meetings, it behoves on the parliament to do sufficient follow up on the commission to see what is the status of the implementation of these decisions that were reached. I just hope in the next four years we can make some gains,” Massaquoi said.
Massaquoi expressed optimism that there will be robust debate at the sessions of the Fifth Legislature on issues affecting the region.
He added: “I just hope that the next four years, honestly, we can be able to make some gains; we need to give ourselves time to debate; we need to give ourselves time to debate, this is not a conference but parliamentary debate.”
“We need to rearrange the way we organize our sessions; there should be debate; we should be allowed to critique the commission, and we should be allowed to critique ourselves.”
Also speaking, Mr. Mahama Ayariga, a Parliamentarian from Ghana, said: “I think that the key issue is that we need to deal with the divide between the Anglophone and the Francophone countries in the sub region and ECOWAS Parliament has a key role to do so.”
He said the parliament will keep up the pressure on ECOWAS institutions to ensure that the Single Currency for the region is achieved.
“We as legislators must keep the pressure on ECOWAS institutions so that they will live up to the plans, road map and commitment they made to ensure that the Single Currency is realized,” Ayariga noted.
On his expectations for the incoming Fifth Legislature, Ayariga, also expressed optimism that there will be robust debate in the parliament as part of the parliamentary mandate to hold institutions and Heads of States in the region accountable on their responsibilities to citizens in the region.
He said the parliament will also hold member countries in the region accountable on their commitment to ECOWAS Protocol.