AfDB, ECOWAS and West African Parliamentarians Urge for Getting “Value for Money” in Social Services

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Parliamentarians from the fifteen members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) gathered in Lagos on 19 June for a two-day Capacity-building event to engage with experts, attend workshops and discuss together, how to achieve Value for money (VfM), accountability and sustainability in the social sectors”.

Speaking on behalf of ECOWAS Secretary General, Cheikh Abdel Kader Dansoko, ECOWAS Parliament representative, Jacob Amuta Onogwu, said that the objective of the forum is to “remove the bottle-necks constraining the effective use of resources”. An objective that coincides with the objectives of the ECOWAS Parliament’s 2011-2015 strategic plan. 

The meeting, he added, exemplifies “the commitment of the African Development Bank to improve governance and accountability in social spending and hence, to an improvement in the living standards of the people of Africa.”

Despite progress in human development indicators, as well as forthcoming funding in recent years, Onogwu said that “increased spending for health and education alone does not automatically produce positive outcomes. Rather, ensuring efficiency of the investments, and understanding the issues that affect the transformation of inputs into concrete development outcomes and implementing well-articulated strategies is what can improve the situation”.

Onogwu suggested that ECOWAS Parliament and AfDB should explore further “the possibilities of partnering in implementing capacity-building programmes on value for money for ministries, parliamentarians and civil society organizations”. He recalled that “parliaments also have the power of the purse and the mandate to scrutinize the utilization of public finances and ensure financial accountability.”

For his part, Dansoko urged legislators to reflect on priority sectors and takes actions so that governments direct to them the appropriate resources.  The ultimate objectives being to get value for the money spent... He also added that project beneficiaries’ voce should be heard and they should be involved in implementation.

AfDB’s Nigeria Office director Ousmane Doré, expressed AfDB’s gratitude to the government of Nigeria for hosting the meeting.