Members of ECOWAS C’ttee on infrastructure brainstorm in Accra

A five-day meeting of members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) joint committee on the sub-region’s infrastructural development, especially the road and transport sector opened in Accra yesterday.  

The high level Joint Standing Committees on Administration, Economic, Finance, Budget Control, Budget Policy Control, Private Sector and New Partner for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Customs and Free Movement are to discuss Public Private Partnership (PPP) as a source of funding for the ECOWAS community programmes and projects.

The five-day event was against the  backdrop of the shrinking government budgets of member states, most of whom are being used for debt servicing and capital expenditure thereby leaving little for infrastructural development for the citizenry.   

The meeting would also create a forum for members of the Standing Committees, stakeholders and researchers in the sub-region to share experiences and knowledge on the implementation of the ECOWAS Regional Road, Transport and Transit Sector, bringing on board the private partnership.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey in an address stressed the importance of Public Private Partnership as an alternative source of funding, adding that it was against this backdrop that the government of Ghana was creating the enabling environment for private sector participation in the country’s development.

Wealth of any nation, she noted depended on creating the right environment for the private sector to come on board through the PPP agreement.

She urged members of the joint committees of the ECOWAS Parliament to brainstorm and come out with a workable solution to address the community’s infrastructural development deficit.

Ms Ayorkor Botchwey appealed to member states to support Ghana’s bid to host the newly established Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) saying, at least for the first time Ghana should host one of the Secretariats of the Africa Union.

The ACFTA, is a supra-regional agreement aimed at ensuring intra- Africa trade and removal of barriers across the continent and customs harmonisation among others.

Ghana’s first Deputy Speaker, Mr Joseph Osei Wusu who represented the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye in a keynote address, commended organisers for the workshop and for their hard work at ensuring that the objective  of the ECOWAS was achieved especially in the sub-regional’s road and transport sector.

He said it was unfortunate that “we have not been able to generate the needed jobs for our citizens and also increase trade among ourselves” adding that it was time that we leverage on the private sector to ensure that we meet the infrastructure needs of our people.

Mr Osei Wusu announced that the Ghana Infrastructure Bill had been developed which among others, brings on board the private sector to provide the financial resources under the PPP, adding that it would soon be laid before Parliament for consideration.

Other speakers at the ceremony were the Member of Parliament (MP) for Sunyani East and leader of the government delegation Kwasi Ameyaw Cheremeh and the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Moustapha Cisse Lo.

By Norman Cooper

Show More
Back to top button