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Tinubu Unveils Economic, Political Plans For ECOWAS

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President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has unveiled his economic and political plans for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) following his election as the new Chairman of the coalition.

Naija News recalls President Tinubu on Sunday emerged as the new ECOWAS Chairman at the 63rd Ordinary Session of the coalition held in the Republic of Guinea-Bissau.

Economic Plans

In a statement by his spokesman, Dele Alake, the Nigerian leader said his economic plans for ECOWAS include the elaboration of socio-economic plans for the sub-region and encouraging trade and investment among member-states.

President Tinubu also promised that Nigeria will organise a trade and investment summit on October 23, 2023, to drum home the need for economic recovery and growth in the sub-region.

Tinubu said during his tenure, ECOWAS leaders would work collectively to pursue an inclusive economic integration, which will be significantly private-sector driven.

He added that ECOWAS would actively promote trade, investment, and business cooperation among member states by addressing the barriers impeding intra-regional trade, as well as creating a conducive business environment.

He said: “In furtherance of my vision for our region’s economic recovery and growth, Nigeria intends to convene an ECOWAS Extra-Ordinary Summit on Trade and Investment in October 2023.

“The event will provide an opportunity for member states to showcase their potentials and encourage match-making, in order to evolve business cooperation among the various organised private sector within the region.”

Tinubu also called for the strengthening of the institutions of the body, adding that the leaders must ensure that the tax being paid by the citizens must be positively impacted by the programmes and projects of ECOWAS.

The Nigerian president also called for improved private sector participation in the effort towards the economic development of member states as well as their social integration.

He added: “In the area of strengthening our organisation’s institutions and ensuring effective performance, we underscore the need for the conclusion of the ongoing institutional reforms of the organisation.

“Given that community levy remained the biggest source of generating funds to run our organisation, we must ensure that our citizens being taxed must be positively impacted by the programmes and projects of ECOWAS. This is in line with the shift of the ECOWAS slogan from ‘ECOWAS of State’ to ‘ECOWAS of People.

“We would work collectively to pursue an inclusive economic integration, which will be significantly private-sector driven, in order to unlock the vast economic potentials of our region.

“We would actively promote trade, investment, and business cooperation among member states by addressing the barriers impeding intra-regional trade, as well as creating a conducive business environment.

“We must encourage economic partnerships to raise the level of trade and investments in our region, hence facilitating employment creation and sustainable development and prosperity for our citizens.

“To this end, we must look inward and work with our regional economic facilitation platforms such as the Federation of West of West Africa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FEWACCI) as well as ECOWAS Trade Organisation Network to attain our desired goals.”

Political Plans

To underscore his commitment towards regional integration, the Nigerian President declared that he would prioritise political stability, peace and security, regional economic integration and strengthening of the ECOWAS institutions.

While decrying the emerging pattern of coup d’etat in West Africa, President Tinubu charged ECOWAS to stand firm in defence of democracy, declaring that democracy and good governance remain the abiding cornerstone of peace and sustainable development.

He said: “We must stand firm on democracy. There is no governance, freedom and rule of law without Democracy. We will not accept coup after coup in West Africa again. Democracy is very difficult to manage but it is the best form of government.

“There is no one here among us who did not campaign to be a leader. We didn’t give our soldiers resources. We didn’t invest in them, in their boots, in their training to violate the freedom of the people.

“To turn their guns against civil authorities is a violation of the principles upon which they were hired which is to defend the sovereignty of their nations. We must not sit in ECOWAS as toothless bulldogs.

“You will all agree with me that democracy and good governance are the cornerstones of peace and sustainable development of every society. I’m fully committed to deepening democracy and good governance in the region.

“We must strengthen our democratic institutions and ensure the respect for human rights and the rule of law. I will enhance engagements with the countries in transition to ensure their quick return to democratic rule.”

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