ECOWAS contemplates jobs creation, others to check irregular migration in sub-region.
Concerns have been raised over deaths of illegal migrants of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) in the Mediterranean Sea owing largely to the high unemployment rate among member-states.
To tackle the problem, a Session of the ECOWAS Parliament Delocalised Meeting of the Joint Committee on Communications and Information Technology, Education, Science and Technology, Labour, Employment, Youth, Sports and Culture in Conakry, Guinea has examined how members of parliament could play a major role in job creation in the sub-region.
Head of Guinea Delegation of ECOWAS Parliament and co-chair of the committee, Alpha Souleymane Bah Fischer, said the bloc was making efforts to deal decisively with the challenge.
Emphasizing the need to address the menace of unemployment besetting the region, Fischer also made a case for the training of the youths for them to overcome the temptation of being trapped in the deadly sea.
The delocalized meeting was aimed at promoting skills acquisition among the youths to deter illegal migration.
The Speaker, National Assembly of Guinea, Claude Kory Kondiano, noted that the gathering was apt, as the issues relating to unemployment were given the attention they deserved.
Also speaking, the country’s Minister of Cooperation, Dr. Diene Keita, said the high unemployment rate was fuelling the exodus, advising the lawmakers to tackle the menace conscientiously.
During another sitting in Conakry, the parliamentarians raised issues to actualize their goals, ranging from ease of doing business by the youths in the region as well as eradication of language barriers among member-countries.
A Nigerian legislator, Biodun Olujimi, said: “ECOWAS needs to encourage young people, youths and women by giving them tax reliefs to ensure they achieve their aspirations, thereby adding value to the efforts of the Parliament.
She submitted that member-states must consciously eradicate issues of mutual distrust among citizens by dismantling language barriers, adding that it would help in integrating the region in terms of employment, exchanges and the likes.
The lawmaker canvassed enhancement of powers of the ECOWAS Parliament to enforce decisions on member-states.
“One of the issues is this language and communication barrier. The Parliament should legislate on it and ensure that all the member-states act on them. All the Francophone states must make English and Portuguese compulsory and all the Anglophone states must also make Portuguese and French mandatory so that this mutual distrust and the inability to really engage one another as entrepreneurs could be dismantled for SMEs to work.
“I think we need to enhance the powers of ECOWAS Parliament so that they can legislate on certain things and those things will be mandatory for member-states to act upon. And that is when we can get our youths out of this problem,” she added.