Staff of the Parliamentary Service have completed a two-day training of trainers workshop on the role of the parliamentary staff in effective financial oversight.
The workshop sought to build the capacities of the parliamentary staff, as well as staff of the ECOWAS Parliament to better assist parliamentarians in conducting financial oversight.
It was organised in Accra last Saturday by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), a capacity building agency in Nigeria, and funded by the African Capacity Building Foundation (ABCF), a foundation committed to supporting capacity building of public and private sector officials in Africa.
Financial oversight is described as Parliament’s way of scrutinising public spending, authorising the Executive to raise revenue through taxes and duties and monitor how the money is spent on public services.
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Participants were taken through topics such as monitoring and evaluation systems to enhance parliamentary performance, their role in budget processes, and public financial management.
They were drawn form various committees of the ECOWAS Parliament such as public accounts committee, specialised committee on human rights and some members of the finance committee of the Nigerian General Assembly.
At the opening ceremony, a Senior Research fellow at NILDS, Dr Jake Joe Dan Azumah, explained that the workshop was crucial due to the essential responsibility of parliamentarians to oversee the expenditure of the Executive and also make sure there was value for money.
“If you equip the staff, then they are better able to assist law makers who are mostly politicians in undertaking oversight particularly when it comes to financial issues in parliament, he told the Daily Graphic.
He further explained, saying that “financial committees such as public account committee in the different Parliaments have a key role to play which is one of the core functions of parliament.
“Ensuring that there is value for money, “it is, therefore,the responsibility of Parliament to expose cases such as abuse, fraud and mismanagement of money,” he added.
In a speech read on his behalf, the Regional Director of ABCF for West and Central Africa, Mr Bakary Kone, said the foundation's support to the workshop was in line with it’s long standing commitment to provide sustainable capacity for public and private sector officials in Africa.
He stated that the foundation had since its inception committed about $700 million towards numerous capacity building initiatives in 45 countries in Africa.
He, thus, expressed ABCF’s continuous support to building capacities, urging participants to take the course seriously to maximise the benefits that will accrue from the workshop.