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FG pays ECOWAS $54m 2015 community levy

The federal Government has fulfilled its obligation to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) by paying the 2015 Community Levy of $54m for the implementation of programmes and projects in the sub-region.

The group’s Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Allieu Sesay, said this at the Second Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja yesterday.

Sesay was responding to questions from parliamentarians following the presentation of the Community Status Report by the Commission’s President, Mr. Marcel de Souza.

The commissioner said that member states had begun to fulfil their financial obligations following consistent persuasion and enlightenment of governments by the commission.

He said, “A good number of states were not paying prior to 2016; we had some challenges in terms of members complying with some of our obligations but we were eventually able to persuade through consistent engagement.

“Luckily for us, the Nigerian government paid community levy for 2015 to the tune of about 54 million dollars and we are very grateful for that.

“Other member states, as well have been honouring their obligations with respect to the community levy and that has been able to provide the wherewithal for community institutions to implement projects and programmes for 2016.

“For now, we have collected 185 million dollars as at September 2016 for the first three quarters of the year, talking about Jan. 1 to Sept. 30, 2016,” he said.

He said that some member countries still owed some arrears dating to 2003 but, however, added that they had shown commitment to comply with the payment.

He said that Memoranda of Understanding had been signed with such countries to pay over a period of time.

While revealing that $113.8 million had so far been disbursed to community institutions, he noted that the Commission is optimistic that debtor nations will honour their obligations.

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