Nigeria approves $6m for new ECOWAS Parliament Office
Addressing the second ordinary session of the parliament in Abuja, Ekweremadu said the Federal Government had already paid the money into the account of the ECOWAS Parliament.
“We have notified the President of the Commission of the release of the sum as well as the intention of the parliament to apply it to the purpose for which it was secured.
“Tender processes and drawings are ongoing.
“Since we have the money intact, I see no reason why we should not complete the building project in a record time,’’ he said.
Ekweremadu who expressed gratitude to the federal government, also said that other financial provisions were being made to renovate the current building in Abuja currently occupied by the parliament.
The speaker said the need for renovation followed concerns expressed by the members over the state of the building.
He said the financial provision was included in the 2012 budget of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), adding that work would begin immediately after the session and would last for a year.
“You would recall that we have variously expressed concerns over the state of infrastructure we met in this complex.
“We have faced the challenges of leaking roof, non-serviceable elevators, lack of offices for the members of parliament and some members of staff, and unsuitable parliamentary auditoriums and committee rooms, to name a few.
“I therefore approached the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Dr Goodluck Jonathan (GCFR), as well as other relevant Nigerian authorities such as the presiding officers of the National Assembly, over this matter.
“A financial provision was therefore made for infrastructural rehabilitation of this parliamentary complex in the 2012 budget of the Ministry for the Federal Capital Territory.
“I am therefore happy to inform you that a contract has already been awarded for the total rehabilitation of the parliamentary building.
“The contract covers the full reroofing of the complex, reconfiguration of the plenary auditorium and the interpreters’ booths to meet the taste and needs of a modern day legislature, provision of brand new elevators, among others.
“Work will commence immediately we are done with this session and will last for about one year.
On the enhancement of powers, Ekweremadu expressed delight at the progress made and urged members to use their positions to reach out to relevant government organs in achieving the aim.
He reiterated that the enhancement of powers of the parliament would complement efforts of national parliaments of member states rather than compete with them.
“ I expect us to reach out to all ECOWAS institutions and organs, visit our Heads of State and Government, especially the Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government, His Excellency, President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivorie and the Chairman of the African Union, His Excellency, President Boni Yayi of Benin Republic.
“We must take our advocacy to regional elder statesmen, founding fathers of ECOWAS, and influential voices in the sub-region. We will also partner with the press to drive our message home.
Amb. Kadre Ouedraogo, President, ECOWAS Commission, received the draft supplementary Act on the enhancement of the powers of the ECOWAS Parliament in August.
The document is expected to be communicated to the authority of Heads of State and Government and other relevant organs of ECOWAS.
The session is expected to consider and adopt the Draft Report on the 2013 Budget and also adopt the Draft Reports of the first Ordinary session of May 2012.
The session is expected to end on Oct. 9.
Source: Business Day