MEPs Grill Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau and Senegal Delegation Country Reports - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Saturday, December 4, 2021

MEPs Grill Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau and Senegal Delegation Country Reports

By Melvin Tejan Mansaray, Abuja Nigeria, Friday, 3rd December 2021

Members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament (MEPs) on Friday 3rd December 2021 thoroughly dissected the contents of the country reports of the delegations of Ivory Coast, Guinea Bissau, and Senegal at the Community Parliament's   Second Ordinary Session currently taking place in Abuja, Nigeria.

The reports however detailed the various countries' successes and challenges in the areas of political, security, human rights, health situations, and the status of implementation of community texts.

After the various presentations on the above subject matters, the presiding Speaker opened the Floor for MEPs to question and make comments on the contents of the reports.

Hon. Bida in his submission questioned Guinea Bissau's economic data and its progress on the convergence criteria.  He also encouraged the Ivory Coast delegation to be on the pathway to peace. He questioned the Senegalese delegation to provide more details on the issue of the arrest of Ousmane Sonko, a Member of the National Assembly and leader of the opposition party  PASTEF Les Patriotes.

A Liberian MEP   quizzed the   Guinea Bissau delegation by saying that nothing much has changed since the Conakry Accord.  To Ivory Coast – "you were the envy of West Africa but upon US Secretary of States, Blikins visit to Africa, he visited Senegal – Ivory Coast is losing morale grip following the third term quest of the President,"  adding that even the reception of delegation to Guinea had ripples from the population. He however commended Senegal's report stating that they are taking over from Ivory Coast.

Hon. Sarkande questioned  Guinea Bissau's submission that "the government is also investigating the landing and parking of an aircraft grounded at the Osvaldo Vieira International Airport in Bissau, since October 27th, 2021 a case that is shaking the entire Guinean Society,"  asking what is contained in aircraft.  She nonetheless commended the significant progress the country has made with regards to community tax and registered hope that they pay the remaining arrears.  The MEP however critiqued Senegal's country report as capturing issues that happened in 2018 similarly registering concern on the arrest of  Sonko.

Another MEP said that at the last Ordinary Session, Guinea Bissau did present a table on the political situation which was quite scary but the current report is painting a similar picture, "I will like to know what is happening in that country and how do you intend to overcome this situation."

Hon. Nabe in his submission said: " I have concerns to address to Senegal on macroeconomic convergence 1.8%, I will like to know if you were to consider agriculture what kind of picture we will have. Guinea Bissau's report is in a summary form. Guinea Bissau, as far as administration goes you will need to provide further details, you need to have a subsection, their report is captured in more general terms. Congrats to Ivory Coast fight against corruption. Public debt by ending March 2021 has exceeded seventeen billion but in your report, the external debt stands at nine hundred and eighty billion. There is a big difference in debt stock."

The Third Deputy Speaker of the  Community Parliament  thanked the delegation of Cote D'Ivoire for providing statistics on violence against women and girls in their country and the relaxing of formalities in access justice for victims, "I encourage you all to make it a fight."

In response to the various comments and questions, the Senegalese delegation said that - Sonko's case,  there is a legal process on the way, and "we can't say much." They said that they repeated some of the issues in their report to be iterative. "The Sonko case in our country is hard to understand government does not want to understand, a lady accused a gentleman of rape and we should allow justice to take its cause. The situation has been dire since 2018. On the issue of convergence criteria not being captured, unfortunately, I am unable to go through the original text, I have a challenge with my connection to provide you the data. On agriculture, we are relying on the  ECOWAS agricultural policy," concluding that the leadership of the country is assertive.

Guinea Bissau delegation: "On the convergence criteria, we had to concentrate more on the aspect of the model sent to us by the Secretariat. The seized aircraft as the report state we have very little information but the investigation is ongoing, a specialized Parliamentary committee is following the investigation and they are ongoing,  once concluded we will provide the information. On the political situation, all the organs of sovereignty are focused on managing the post-electoral satiation but there seems to be an upheaval, the opposition always attacks very seriously but the government is balancing it with stability and we look forward to a favorable outcome that will stimulate democratic activities in the country. We only provided answers to what we were provided and it is a six months report. We don’t want to repeat what we said in May because we just want to show how the situation has evolved. In May we will provide more details, we wanted to avoid repetition. In May there was an unpleasant situation, we are moving forward and hope that by May next year our report will project our conformation to the text in terms of implementation."

Ivory Coast Delegation: "I want to thank you all for your interest in our country's report. We remain an envy in Arica and have distinguished ourselves, we are leaders of the MRU. I thank the Deputy Speaker for her commendations on the steps we have taken to protect victims of gender-based violence. On Kiyong Soro’s return, the underlying issue is reducing tension and I think we have made qualitative progress since the return of Laurent Gbagbo who Alassane Ouattara, and reducing tension, we saw the establishment of new political parties. These are showing quality progress in reducing tensions, the relationship between Soro and Ouattara is father and son and we must leave things to settle over time.  Introducing sanity in public life - President Ouattara appointed to the Ministry of budget a young official from the Central Bank and it was decided that state companies are to be audited after every three years so the appointees are to be careful as to how they manage the public affair and funds. Concerning debt which is seventeen billion but the debt, the stock is fifty percent and it is way below the community standard as required by ECOWAS."

Coming up on Saturday is the presentation of the Community budget.

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