The President of ECOWAS, Mr Marcel De Souza, on Thursday, expressed frustration over debt being owed to the commission by defaulting nation members.
De Souza was speaking in Abuja when he led a delegation from the commission to a courtesy visit on the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Khadijat Abba-Ibrahim.
He appealed to Nigeria and other member states to rescue the commission by paying up their outstanding levies.
“We have certain challenges that we are facing. The first is our financial situation that has become quite precarious.
“The situation is tied to the economic condition in the member states and the fact that the price of oil has dropped.
“The community levy which represents 90 percent of our funding is no longer regularly paid by most member states; Nigeria is not alone in this regard, also Cote D’Ivoire,” he said.
He said that Cote D’Ivoire, Cape Verde and Senegal were major defaulters, but the greater challenge was Nigeria.
“We see that the greatest challenge lies with Nigeria. The arrears that Nigeria is owning is 694,000 dollars because there was no payment made between 2015 and 2016.
“Because of the debt burden it carries, ECOWAS is now losing its credibility,” the president said.
According to him, Transcorp Hilton where meeting of all Heads of State was held in 2015 had not been settled by the commission.
He added that the bills of peace building troops sent to Guinea Bissau and Mali were yet to be paid, stressing that peace would always come with a cost.
“So, we wish to see our credibility restored. We appeal to Nigeria that the outstanding bill between 2015 and 2016 be paid.
“Without Nigeria and without Nigeria’s contribution we will not be able to sustain our activities neither we will be able to restore our credibility,” he said.
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in turn congratulated the ECOWAS president on his appointment and assured him that the issue of finance raised should be brought before President Muhammadu Buhari since the ECOWAS delegation would visit him later.
She said that other issues raised would be discussed in due course. The minister also said that she would discuss the issue of accommodation with the FCT Minister so the commission will have a guest house in Abuja to cut out costs of hotels.