NILS-CAP TOT Workshop for Staff of ECOWAS Parliament ends in Accra, Ghana

  • Thursday August 2, 2018 07:13 AM
  • NILS Press Corps
The National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) of the Nigerian National Assembly in collaboration with the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) and ECOWAS Parliament organised a two-day training of trainers’ workshop on the Role of Parliamentary Staff in Effective Financial Oversight. The workshop took place 28 and 29 July 2018, at Erata Hotel, Accra, Ghana.
The programme of the Opening Ceremony featured a welcome address by Mr. John Azumah, Secretary General, ECOWAS Parliament, Remarks by Mr. Bakary Kone, Regional Director, ACBF represented by the senior Pogramme Officer Mr. Dickson Antwi and a Keynote address and formal opening of the workshop by the Director General, NILDS, represented by the Special Advisor to the DG, Dr. Jake Dan-Azumi.
The primary objective of the workshop was to strengthen the technical capacity of parliamentary staff to effectively provide support to parliamentarians so that they perform better financial governance through the exercise of oversight. Other aims of the workshop include:
To equip participants with tools relating to parliamentary oversight; ii. To ensure effectiveness in oversight of budgets and activities of ECOWAS Institutions and Agencies; iii. To facilitate formalised oversight mechanisms for the ECOWAS Parliament to improve effectiveness in the oversight of ECOWAS Community; iv. To guide participants to come up with a template for planning and reporting oversight activities of the ECOWAS Parliament; v. To enhance staff capacity in planning, budgeting and implementation of activities of the ECOWAS Parliament Strategic plan; vi. To create a forum for further input into the draft oversight component being developed for the ECOWAS manual.
Over the course of the two days, presentations were made by ECOWAS Parliament, experts from ACBF and the African Centre for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA). The presenters facilitated a better understanding of the role of parliamentary staff in providing the requisite support to Members of Parliament in performing their functions of financial scrutiny.

Several key recommendations emanated from the discussions that took place during the training:
i. The need to nurture a relationship with the media and use it as a means for disseminating Parliament’s work especially in conjunction with the West African Press Corp. The West African Press Corp brings together the press of the three linguistic groups of the sub region. ii. The need to ensure adequate budgetary provisions are made to carrying out M and E activities. iii. The need for an attitudinal shift to results-based management especially in the public sector which consequently affects effective oversight functions.

To ECOWAS Parliament:
i. The need to reform the competence of Standing Committees in line with the exigencies of the Supplementary Act.
ii. The need to monitor and follow-up on budgetary amendment proposals that are sent to Council following the Community Budget as a way of solidifying Parliament’s involvement in the Community budget process.
iii. To explore the possibilities of its new competencies of interpellation, setting up committees of enquiries and mediation particularly as a means of monitoring and evaluating regional integration issues.
iv. To strengthen the relationship with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and capitalise on their expertise when carrying out oversight functions.
v. To discuss with ACBF on the possibilities of its technical support in establishing an M and E system for the Parliament. vi. To improve record-keeping for monitoring and evaluation purposes.
vi. To be systematic in the planning and preparation of oversight activities. b)

i. The need to extend its capacity building project NILS-CAP and continue to organise quality capacity building programmes for Members of ECOWAS Parliament and parliamentary staff from ECOWAS Member States.

ii. To consider organising a follow-up training for staff of ECOWAS Parliament on “Tools for parliamentary oversight” where the expected outcome would be the development of the Parliament’s procedures in the area oversight.
Participants who attended the training included staff of the ECOWAS Parliament and the National Assembly of Nigeria. They appreciated the organizers of the workshop, stated that it has indeed enhanced their knowledge in the area of parliamentary oversight and would therefore be able to provide improved technical assistance to parliamentarians. Adding that they have gained a better appreciation of Parliament’s role and responsibilities to Community and citizens through monitoring the activities of the Executive and ensuring transparency and accountability.