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ECOWAS Parliament urges member States to strategise toward stimulating their economies after COVID-19

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament has urged ECOWAS members States to stimulate their economies after the Cornavirus (COVID-19) by strengthening their commitment to protecting livelihoods and investments in key sectors.

Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Sidie Mohammed Tunis, who made the call in a statement commemorating the 2020 ECOWAS Day  on Thursday in Abuja, praised member States for their numerous achievements in line with the vision upon which ECOWAS was built 45 years ago, which was geared toward fostering interstate economic and political cooperation as well as regional integration.

Tunis, however, said that in spite of  the remarkable achievements as a region, the people of the sub-region continued to yearn for help particularly under the current global pandemic of COVID-19.

Said Tunis: “On this occasion of the commemoration of the ECOWAS Day, I wish to convey warm felicitations and best wishes to our dear ECOWAS Citizens on behalf of the entire ECOWAS Parliament, the Bureau, and staff. We are mindful of the fact that this outbreak is like none in the past. Since it was first detected in December 2019, within months, it eroded our normal ways of life.

“Confined us within our respective borders, bringing our economies to a virtual standstill and triggering a possible recession for the year. On our part, the 5th Legislature shall play its role towards the ECOWAS’ post COVID-19 recovery response strategies. By collaborating with and enacting policies to support sister institutions in the execution of COVID-19 related programs for the benefit of the citizens of the sub-region.”

He expressed optimism that given the resilient nature of “our people, we will bounce back and make a full recovery” in the no distant future.

“However, for that to happen faster, we urge governments of member States to be mindful of the need to commit to protecting livelihoods and investments in key sectors of our economies and  identifying ingenious ways of injecting liquidity as a lifeblood to stimulate our economies. Consequently, I cannot over-emphasise the need for the redesigning of our budget and programs to reflect changes envisaged by the effects of the pandemic on the economies of member states.

“I am cognizant of the fact that member states will recover at different rates. For some, it will come faster and for others, slower. Nevertheless, cohesion and convergence of policies should be of utmost importance than ever before in post COVID-19 recovery quest,” Tunis stated.

According to Tunis, the COVID-19 crisis will no doubt, generate new norms for citizens of member states – in the way they think, live, and even the course of politics.

The speaker added that “it will be a long road to full recovery but in the spirit of African astute wisdom and resilience of purpose. I make bold to state that we shall emerge stronger and better to the delight of the rest of the world. I pray we all remain hopeful, as hope is a powerful force.

“Hope will pull us from the depths of despair and charge us to continue the march toward actualising our West African dreams, as handed down to us by the founding fathers of ECOWAS 45 years ago. Armed with the tool of hope and faith in God, West Africans shall prevail against any obstacle, in brotherhood and oneness,” he stated.

The speaker said that as of May 24, the sub-region had recorded more than 29,000 confirmed cases with more than 11,000 recoveries and sadly, a little more than 600 deaths.

Those, he said, were not mere numbers or statistics of physical things but of human beings, citizens of West Africa, whose lives were cut short by the rampaging virus.

Tunis also empathised with all citizens on behalf of the Parliament, as everyone could have been directly or remotely affected.

 He urged citizens of member states to rest assured of the constant support and prayers of the Parliamentarians for the healing of the world and particularly, of the sub-region.

Tunis noted that the Parliament is aware of the interventions of the ECOWAS Commission and the West African Health Organisation (WAHO).

He added that both institutions had initiated various responses to the coronavirus pandemic in member states.

Tunis said that the responses included the provision of training and essential supplies to strengthen the public health systems in member states in order to foster the fight against the spread of the scourge.

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