The 4th Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament has taken up the campaign to enhance its powers from where the erstwhile 3rd legislature left off, as the Hon. Speaker, H.E. Moustapha Cisse Lo appealed for the strengthening of the institutional role of the Parliament in the integration process of the sub-region.
The Speaker, in his message to the solemn opening of the 2016 First Ordinary Session of the National Assembly of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, disclosed that the Parliament in its just-concluded First Extra-Ordinary Session, adopted the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan, of which its successful implementation requires the revival of the process of strengthening the Community Parliament’s powers.
In addition, Speaker Lo who addressed the Cote d’Ivoire National Assembly on the invite of its Speaker, H.E Guillaume Soro Kigbafori, appealed for a strengthening of cooperation between the ECOWAS Parliament and National Parliaments of ECOWAS member states, particularly through the institutionalization of annual messages addressed to the people of the sub-region in sessions of National Parliaments and that of the Community Parliament. He described the invite from Speaker Kigbafori as a gesture of friendship and an opportunity to foster cooperation between the two institutions while calling for the revitalization of the annual Conference of Speakers of West African Parliaments.
Meanwhile, in his message to the Plenary of the National Assembly of Cote d'Ivoire, the Speaker of Parliament also addressed several issues of community interest including the need to strengthen cooperation in the fight against terrorism as well showing more commitment in the implementation of the ECOWAS Policy on free movement of citizens, goods and services.
Recall that the 1st – 3rd Legislatures of the Parliament had sought the enhancement of its powers to include the power to legislate in co-decision with the Council of Ministers, representation, budget appropriation and confirmation of statutory appointees of the Community Institutions. However, that campaign was quelled at the twilight of the 3rd Legislature, with some Member States giving some reservations which stopped the adoption and signing of the Draft Supplementary Act on the Enhancement of the Powers of the Parliament in 2015. Currently, the Parliament has consultative and advisory capacity within the decision making organs of the ECOWAS Community.