ECOWAS on Wednesday said that its mission in Guinea Bissau has taken an “excruciating toll” on the financial resources of the sub-region.
ECOWAS Commission President Marcel Alain de Souza said this while presenting the Status Report on the State of the Community to the Second Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja.
De Souza was represented by the commission’s Vice President, Edward Singhatey.
Members of Parliament had recommended that the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea Bissau (ECOMIB) be extended.
De Souza, however, said that the mandate could not be extended by the Authority of Heads of State and Government and added that funding the mandate of the mission was not sustainable.
“The mission in Guinea Bissau is costing the community a lot of resources, in fact the commission is struggling to meet its obligations.
“Currently we are 42,998,819 million U.S, dollars in arrears to troop contributing member states; what has been budgeted for the coming year 2018 is 30,927,924 Units of Account (UA) (approximately 13.3 million naira)
“I thought that I would bring this to the attention of honourable members; inasmuch as we have an obligation to Guinea Bissau, it is an integral part of ECOWAS and it is worth all of the resources rather that seeing it plunged into chaos.
“But the toll that it is taking on our finances is excruciating and it is not sustainable; we are struggling to find money to sustain the mission in Guinea Bissau.”
He reiterated the need for member states to comply with the payment of their obligations to the Community Levy aimed at funding activities of the sub-regional bloc.
“We do engage member states constantly in this regard; 11 out of the poorest nations in the world come from out region. We can only continue to engage countries to fulfill their obligations.
“A number of member states are up-to-date with their payments and we would like to encourage those countries to continue to do so.”
The ECOWAS Mission in Guinea Bissau (ECOMIB) made up of troops from Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Togo, and Niger, was deployed in May 2012 following a military coup in April 2012.
ECOMIB helped to establish a civilian-led transitional government, which ended with the election of President José Mario Vaz in a run-off in May 2014 for a five-year term.
The international community has, severally, called on authorities of Guinea Bissau to implement the Conakry Agreement of Oct. 2016.
The agreement is the primary framework for a peaceful resolution of the political crisis in the country.