Parliament has received a bill that will revive the Economic and Social Council, a structure that has gone comatose for the past 30 years. We learnt the bill is being scrutinized by the Constitutional Laws Committee of the National Assembly who will amend certain provisions of the law creating the body in 1986.
Critics had named the council as a liability consuming 5 billion FCFA a year without any concrete work. Only six members plus an extremely limited technical and administrative staff exist out of the 150 member Council. Raising questions as to why much money is being pumped into a structure which produces nothing.
Looking at the content of the bill which has 43 sections, issues of environment and sustainable development has been introduced into the competence of ECOSOC. The council also has the responsibility to advise Government in the domains within its competence. Government too has to consult the body on socio- economic issues with the exception of the finance bill. Only the President and the Scribe will receive salaries and other benefits . Other members will be given allowances per session.
Items relating to the appointment of members and their roles and terms of references have been laid out in the proposed bill.
It is expected that when the bill is passed into law, the Economic and Social Council can finally play its role. SDF MPs on their part lament that the membership of the structure be slashed since there are other advisory bodies on socio-economic issues.