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Buhari challenges ECOWAS leaders on how to manage resources
President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday called on ECOWAS member states to urgently review their spending patterns for optimisation of strategic goals of the Community.[Image: Buhari-1-1.jpg]

President Buhari made the call at the 52nd Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government held in AbujaHe said the call had become imperative in view of the recent recession and economic challenges faced by ECOWAS member states, as evidenced by the severe drop in real growth rate for ECOWAS from 6.1 per cent in 2014 and 3.3 per cent in 2015 to an alarming rate of 0.2 per cent in 2016.

According to him, member states must therefore ensure that resources are put to good economic use to boost peoples’ quality of lives.

He added that “in this regard, I urge the Commission leadership to practice probity and accountability in the management of our resources.”

The President equally stressed the need to consolidate the efforts made so far on reform of ECOWAS Institutions and Specialized Agencies.

The Nigerian leader also emphasised the importance of good governance, sound financial management and cost reduction as underlying factors for successful reform.

He said “in this regard, Nigeria welcomes the approved institutional reforms of our organisation, and we are looking forward to their comprehensive implementation.

“The gains and savings made should be invested in greater integration projects, as well as on security and development initiatives.”

President Buhari had on Dec. 15 commended the leadership of ECOWAS Commission for demanding accountability from its headquarters staff.

Buhari gave the commendation when he received the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Marcel A. de Souza, and described the commission’s invitation of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to look into its books as a welcome development.

The President of ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Marcel A. de Souza, said the sub-region was facing complex and recurring crises that endangered the lives of the people and sometimes the existence of member states.

According to him, the fight against terrorism and the management of internal political crises often take precedence over economic and social developmental issues.

He noted that “indiscriminate terrorist attacks continue to plague our hard-working populations in northern Nigeria, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire.

“The major part of the national budget of these countries, as well as the commission’s operational budget are being diverted to combat terrorism and carry out peacekeeping operations.”.

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