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Monetary Integration, Economic Management Tops Agenda

Apr 8, 2008, 6:17 AM | Article By: By Baboucarr Senghore

As regional parliamentary forum gets underway

A five-day regional forum on the role of parliament in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG's) opened at the Paradise Suites Hotel yesterday with issues on the prospects and challenges on West African Monetary Integration top of the agenda.

Organised by the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM), the forum aims enhance the knowledge and skills of legislators to assess, evaluate and appraise economic and financial programmes, projects and budgets emanating from the executive arm of government.

The forum also aims to strengthen the capacity of legislators to play their role more effectively in exacting appropriate legislation geared towards the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals within the current liberalised framework for economic management.

Also among the themes to be discuss as part of the forum are legislative oversight in economic management; Africa's performance and way forward in MDG's; the role of fiscal and monetary policy in economic management and strategies for upgrading economic and financial capacities of national parliaments.

In his keynote address, Mr. Bamba Saho, Governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia, highlighted the role of legislators in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

"The Legislature's role as an arm of government and a check on the other arm of government needs to be carried out vigorously to make progress towards achieving poverty reduction and sustainable economic development", he said.

According to the Central Bank Governor, the legislature's role is crucial in the establishment of vibrant institutions needed for effective economic development.

He added that the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals requires us all to intensify the individual and collective efforts of governments, legislatures, civil society, the international community and the ordinary people.

Governor Saho noted that it is the responsibility of legislatures to support and in some cases prompt governments to afford priority to issues of poverty, education, health, gender and environmental sustainability.

"Legislators can also help in monitoring progress towards the achievement of the MDG's and improving consultations with governments, the private sector and civil society", he said.

In a speech read on his behalf by Mr. Momodou Foon, Director of Macro Economic Department at WAIFEM, Dr. Osi C. Itsede, Director General of WAIFEM, said WAIFEM initially concentrated on building capacities of officials of central banks, ministries of finance, debt management offices and other public/private agencies involved in macro economic policy management.

"To ensure that our programmes have a competitive edge, we have established a collaborative technical partnership with world class institutions involved in capacity building for macro economic and financial management", he added.

Dr. Mrs. Adamu, Senior Programme Officer Macro Economic Department, WAIFEM delivered the vote of thanks at the opening ceremony.