LOW INTRA-REGIONAL TRADE WORRIES ECOWAS
BY Daniel Gumm
Members of the ECOWAS Parliament have deplored the low intra-regional trade profile of West Africa and 'the pressure brought to bear by the European Union on trade liberalisation between the two zones'.
This, they said, was having adverse effects on the sub-region's economy and the financial autonomy of its institutions.
This was contained in a communiquÃ© issued at the end of a seminar on 'The Role of the ECOWAS Parliament in the West African Integration Process,' held in Accra, Ghana, for members of the community's parliament.
This came just as the Speaker of the Parliament and Nigeria's Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, also reiterated the resolve of the community's parliamentarians to play greater roles in freeing the peoples of the West African sub-region from poverty, ignorance, corruption, and insecurity.
In the communiquÃ© read by the Parliament's Secretary-General, Mr. Muhamed Diakete, the ECOWAS parliamentarians noted that the consolidation of peace and good governance was the major challenge facing the sub-region.
They also expressed concerns over the persistence of several obstacles to the progress of integration process and the lacklustre implementation of community programmes and projects as well as in the application of the ECOWAS Revised Treaty and related Protocols, especially those relating to the establishment of single currency and the free movement of persons, goods and services.
They raised alarm over the worsening security situation in the Sahel-Sahara and the foreseeable consequences of the Libyan crisis on the West African sub-region.
The parliamentarians lauded the ECOWAS position on the skirmishes in the Sahel-Sahara zone, especially on the rebel activities in northern Mali.
In a closing remark, Ekweremadu explained that members of the Community's Parliament were fully inspired by the inferences they drew from other regional parliaments and were now better motivated to emulate their good examples.