ECOWAS Facing Financial Challenges, Must Not Be Overburdened- Justice Asante


The President of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice,  Justice Edward Amoako Asante has lamented that the regional bloc is presently facing financial challenges and must not be overburdened by its institutions.

Some of ECOWAS institutions include ECOWAS Commission, ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID), Community Court of Justice, Community Parliament, West African Health Organisation (WAHO) and Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing in West Africa (GIABA).

Speaking at the opening of the 16th Administrative and Budget retreat of ECOWAS Court in Nasarawa State, near Abuja, Asante said with the financial challenges facing the community, it is imperative that it resources should not be overburdened. 

He said: “We must all know that the Community is now financially weak and therefore we do not have to overburden the Community itself.”

He however said despite these constraints, the Court remain committed to its mandate, stating, “We still have to do our programmes to let people know that the Court is also performing its function.”

He acknowledged the essential role that budgetary allocations play in the functioning of the ECOWAS Court, stressing that: “We know budgetary issues are very important for every institution since that is the mainstay.”

He highlighted the comprehensive effort made to collate inputs from all departments and units, ensuring that the proposed budget reflects the diverse needs and priorities of the entire court.

However, the President underscored the financial challenges facing the community, cautioning against overburdening its resources. 

“We must all know that the Community is now financially weak and therefore we do not have to overburden the Community itself,” he noted.

Addressing the high administrative and operational costs that constitute a significant portion of the Court’s budget, the President pointed out that approximately 80 percent of the budget is dedicated to these expenses, leaving limited funds for planned activities. 

In a call for collective wisdom and strategic planning, Justice Asante urged all participants to contribute thoughtfully to the budget discussions. “We have to be able to judge all and put our heads together to come up with the best budget which when presented to the Administration and Finance Committee (AFC) and to the Council of Ministers, they will look at it as a very good budget and approve it for us,” he said. 

He expressed the Court’s intention to advocate for the preservation of its budget, highlighting its reliance on community funding.

Asante while declaring the Administrative and Budget retreat opened, invited participants to engage in productive dialogue and decision-making. 

He said: “Without taking much of our time, I will declare the budget, and administration retreat open”.

The retreat is expected to foster thoughtful discussions, open dialogues, and constructive debates, leveraging the collective wisdom, diverse perspectives, and shared experiences of the attendees. 

On his part, the Director of Administration and Finance, Dr. William Towah expressed full confidence that the retreat will pave the way for innovative solutions, inspire new ideas, and renew the sense of purpose within the Community Court of Justice.

Presenting the objectives and the expectations of the retreat, Towah emphasized the retreat’s significance as a platform to assess the Court’s progress and strategize for the future. 

He commended the collective dedication and diligence of the Court’s members, which have propelled the institution to new heights, upholding the rule of law. “Our collective efforts have earned the respect and trust of our stakeholders, creating a positive impact on the lives of those we serve”, he stated. 

Acknowledging the challenges that persist, he highlighted the importance of continuous improvement. He called for a critical assessment of the Court’s shortcoming and the identification of areas for enhancement. 

He said: “By embracing these challenges, we can further strengthen our foundation and ensure that the Court remains a beacon of justice and fairness.” 

The annual Administrative and Budget retreat was attended by the Honorable Vice President, judges, directors including and relevant staff of the Court.

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