Dr Gayewea Mcintorsh, Vice-President of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, has called on member states to redouble their efforts to ensure the realisation of the goals and aspirations of its founding fathers.
He said the founding members sought to ensure that a solid regional integration remains very relevant 40 years after the establishment of ECOWAS, therefore, members must focus on attaining the vision for the sake of the economic development of the sub-region.
He, however, warned that the successes chalked out over the years must not lead to complacency, but rather motivate members to maintain the gains made and push further ahead, to achieve the goals set by the originators of the vision.
He said “until the objective of integration is achieved we have not succeeded”.
Dr Mcintorsh, was addressing members at the opening of the 17th Meeting of the Administration and Finance Committee of ECOWAS in Accra on Monday.
He said although ECOWAS has faced challenging times over the years, it is now making steady progress in areas such as democratic governance which has manifested in many ways including the recent successful elections in Nigeria and Togo.
Other challenges, he said, includes inter-border trading and called for collaboration to successfully fight against diseases such as the Ebola epidemic and the introduction of institutional reforms within ECOWAS.
Dr Mcintorsh said efforts have also been made with support from partners outside the sub-region to intensify pressure on Boko Haram to curb their attacks on innocent people in Nigeria.
He said one of the priorities of the new management of the ECOWAS Commission is to deepen institutional reforms in order to fast-track regional economic development and integration.
“We are also going to strive to deepen institutional reforms as well as establish mutually beneficial partnerships to tackle regional challenges,” he said.
Dr Mcintorsh said the harmonisation of tariffs at the various border points is the beginning of a sustainable development path for the sub-region and urged all managers to implement the Community Levy Protocol for uniformity and effective trade, while the challenges associated are reviewed at the meeting.
Mrs Sena-Siaw Boateng, Chairperson of the Administration and Finance Committee, said the harmonisation of tariffs would bring sanity at all ECOWAS borders to enhance trade and effective movement.
She requested members be vigilant in the examination of the various reports that are to be discussed at the meeting in order that collectively they would improve the governance system of the institutions within the community.
The three-day meeting, which is being attended by ECOWAS member countries, directors of finance and commissioners from the various countries, would therefore create the platform for participants to interact and discuss the integration process.
Items for discussion would include; the presentations and consolidation of the implementation status of Tasks assigned to Community Institutions, the Consolidated Budget Performance Report for 2014, a Report on the Status of Implementation of the Community Levy Protocol as at 31st March 2015, as well as a Memo on the Request for Financial Assistance to Countries holding elections. GNA