|Accra, 08-10-2021. ECOWAS experts converged at the Coconut Groove Hotel in Accra, Ghana to review and validate the draft Supplementary Act Setting the Conditions and Modalities for Community Levy Im-plementation and Management. This Act once approved would replace the Protocol on Community Levy which had been in existence for 25 years now.
At the end of the 3-day meeting, a validated draft Community Levy Act, alongside other community legis-lations meant to enhance intra-community trade and strengthen the ECOWAS Customs union, would be presented to the Meeting of ECOWAS Directors Generals (DGs) of Customs. It is expected that the DGs of Customs who would review all the total eight (8) Supplementary acts and regulations of the Customs and table them before the Ministers of Finance Meeting, on Friday, 12th November, 2021. for further re-view and onward presentation to the Council on Ministers in December 2021.
In her welcome remarks, the Commissioner for Finance, Mrs. Halima Ahmed expressed her appreciation for the full participation of experts from all ECOWAS Member States despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. She recalled that the Community Levy Protocol was established by a Decision of the ECO-WAS Authority in 1996 and its full implementation began in 2003. After 17 years of implementation, some issues arose which necessitated the amendment of the Protocol.
The Commissioner said that the validation workshop was the first step for the Member States to own the document, which would then be presented to Directors General of Customs and Ministers of Finance on 11th and 12th November respectively. This would further be reviewed and endorsed by ECOWAS Parlia-ment and Council of Ministers before submission to the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Gov-ernment for approval.
On his part, Mr Nurudeen Ismail, the Chair of AFC, welcomed the participants and extended the greetings of HE Nana Dankwa Akuofor Addo, President of Ghana, the Government and people of Ghana. He wel-comed the participants and reiterated the importance of the Community levy in financing the budget of ECOWAS institutions and activities. He expressed the support of the Government of Ghana to ECOWAS and declared the Workshop open.
The meeting was attended by Heads of ECOWAS National Office, Experts from Member States’ Customs in charge of implementation of the protocol on Community Levy, the President of ECOWAS Court of Jus-tice, the Representative of the Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament, the Auditor General of ECOWAS Institu-tions, and the ECOWAS Commission led by HE Halima Ahmed.