Liberia Considers ECOWAS Very Significant

Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan has stated that Liberia considers the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) very significant in its (Liberia’s) governance processes.

The Liberian Foreign Minister said that ECOWAS’ role in making sure that Liberia became stable during and after years of civil conflict can’t be overemphasized.

Min. Ngafuan recollected that ECOMOG, which was the regional body’s peace monitoring group, was one of the pillars in Liberia’s peace restoration and transformation process.

The Minister further stated that the consolidation of Liberia’s democracy can’t be spoken about without mentioning and recognizing the role ECOWAS has played and continued to play.  

He spoke Friday, August 14, when he hosted a four-man ECOWAS delegation, headed by H.E. Dr. Toga Gayewea McIntosh, Vice President for ECOWAS Commission.

Dr. McIntosh, who is a former Foreign Minister of the Republic of Liberia and delegation are on a five-day visit in the country. They arrived in the country on Thursday, August 13.

Speaking on the reason of the ECOWAS delegation’s visit to Liberia, Foreign Minister Ngafuan stated that Liberia has taken steps to catch up with its levy payment. He further stated that Liberia has now imposed a higher levy.

While thanking Dr. McIntosh and delegation for the visit, Foreign Minister Ngafuan emphasized that West African nations need to reach a point where they can significantly contribute to their regional organization.

Speaking earlier, Dr. McIntosh said that he was pleased to back in the country and had come to hold meetings with key financial stakeholders, including the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) and the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA).

The ECOWAS VP, who is being accompanied on this trip by the Special Representative of the ECOWAS Commission's President to Liberia, Ambassador Tunde Ajisomo, further stated that the regional body’s resources were dwindling and so steps needed to be taken in other to fill the gaps. Also included on Dr. McIntosh’s delegation is Mr. Brian A. Sapati, Deputy Director General, ECOWAS GIABA, Bunu Lawan, Principle Accountant, representing the ECOWAS Commissioner of Finance and Mr. H. Urias Harrington, III, Executive Assistant to the ECOWAS Commission VP.

He stated that he and delegation intent to cover the entire region and they would be holding meetings at both the political and technical levels in each nation.

Dr. McIntosh and delegation have already met with authorities at the LRA, CBL, MFDP and Commerce Ministry. The ECOWAS delegation’s visit to Liberia is being coordinated by the ECOWAS National Office in Monrovia.

They are also expected to meet with a House of Representatives team, which will be headed by House Speaker Alex Tyler and a team from the Senate, which will be headed Pro-Temp Armah Z. Jallah.

On Monday, August 17, the last day of their visit, they are expected to pay a courtesy call on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

ECOWAS Ministers had recommended that the new regional Common External Tariff (CET) become operational on 1 January 2015.

Heavily reliant on import taxes as a source of income, ECOWAS Ministers also adopted a set of regulatory measures that include the import adjustment tax and the supplementary protection tax.

The Ministers noted that the proposal for the introduction of a 1.5 percent community levy to finance the Community and its programs should be revisited after five years.

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