By Temitope Ponle
The ECOWAS Parliament has adopted the proposed 2018 community budget of 284.9 million West African Units of Account (UA) (approximately 122 billion naira).
The Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) puts a West African UA at 430.1 naira.
The budget was adopted following the presentation of the Report of the Ad hoc Committee for the Consideration of the Consolidated 2018 Budget of the Community.
It was adopted by the parliament at its ongoing Second Ordinary session in Abuja, was presented by the Chairman of the committee, Mr Orlando Pereira.
The proposed budget depends majorly on the Community Levy of 175.9 million UA (approximately 75.7 billion naira).
The committee noted that the Community Levy represented 70 per cent of the bloc’s source of funding for its activities.
It, however, said that the community budget performance for the 2017 financial year showed a relatively low recovery rate of the levy adding that the non-remittance by member states hindered the implementation of proposed community activities.
It added that member states only met up with 31.91 per cent of the proposed levy for 2017.
It further called on member states to comply with the payment of their obligations to the Community Levy aimed at funding activities of the sub-regional bloc.
“This situation is mainly due to the non-compliance of the related Protocol.
“To this end, the Ad hoc Committee invites all parliamentarians, of whose states are not up to date in the payment of their obligations, to intercede to their respective authorities to ensure payments of the amount of the collected proceeds.
“The Ad hoc Committee invites the ECOWAS Commission to involve the parliament in their advocacy at member state level to ensure recovery of the Community Levy.”
The committee also called on ECOWAS institutions to explore other alternative sources of funds to “conveniently carry out their activities”.
The proposed 2018 budget indicates a 16.96 million UA increase from 267.9 million UA 2017 budget.
The proposed external funds for the budget was put at about 41.8 million UA (17.9 billion naira).