H.E. Ousseini Tinni is a graduate of the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce et d'Administration des Entreprises in Marseille (France). He has extensive experience in management, administration, economics and transport. From 2000 to date, he has held several important positions in the Nigerien administration. He was administrator of the Nigerian Hydrocarbon Company, Director of Cabinet of the Minister of Transport, Secretary General of the Ministry of National Competitiveness and the fight against the high cost of living. He has been the president of the National Assembly of Niger since March 2016.
Speakers, Ladies and gentlemen
I am happy to find myself, once again with all of you, across distances, through this screen!
Our topic of the day appears to be a paradox. Indeed, while the Covid19 pandemic is perceived as a major brake on economic growth, social ties, and international relations, how then to speak of it in terms of opportunity?
Thus, by way of illustration, for the countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) space, the immediate consequence of Covid19 will have been a gradual entry into recession with a contraction estimated at -2.1 % for the year 2020. In terms of public finances, here and there, there are decreases in tax revenues, a significant budget deficit, a deterioration of basic social sectors with the corollary of an increase in unemployment, in short the worsening of poverty. On the African scale, some believe that this pandemic could push more than 27 million more people into extreme poverty!
However, from this great challenge of Covid19, it is possible to identify useful opportunities, because, as we learn from the Holy Quran, "the difficulty is always close to the easy". Our reflection on today's theme will be illustrated by a few selected examples from several areas.
Thus, within the framework of the fight against the pandemic, our countries organized through in particular the African Free Trade Area (ZLECAF), can much better attract the attention of the international community with the hope of having as much support as necessary to respond to the pandemic only to achieve their sustainable development goals and those of Agenda 2063, within the framework of international relations based on solidarity, equality, justice and dignity.
To do this, they will be able to collectively develop the pleas necessary to mobilize funding in the manner of a real Marshal plan through which each of the countries of the North would finally keep the promise to devote 0.7% of its GDP to public aid to the development. In short, it will be about ensuring that the financial response of the international community against Covid19 serves as a lever for all development aid.
For this lever to be more effective, it is imperative that together, all countries around the world, through the United Nations (UN), define the rules of this new political and economic governance based on much more values. human and ecological.
Internally, from the constraints arising from the management of the pandemic, we must be able to draw lessons that can improve our social relations and the organizational conditions of our economies.
When it comes to social relations, hygiene measures, social distancing and the wearing of masks that people find restrictive can be used as permanent means of medical prophylaxis to counter the diseases and endemics that regularly plague our families. Even if later the mask could be abandoned, the reduction of social promiscuity and hygiene measures could continue and become reflexes of collective safeguard.
In terms of management, teleworking, having proven its effectiveness, can become a great opportunity to improve work performance with significant savings, especially in terms of transport and travel.
The other positive effect of this economy of means is undoubtedly the general easing of the effects of economic action on the environment. Already, it seems, for the present year, humanity will have already gained nearly a month on “Earth Overshoot Day” of the use of natural resources compared to last year.
The challenge now is how, in the future, to capitalize on this victory, while maintaining economic activity at a level compatible with sufficient growth.
To meet this challenge, we need to fundamentally review our consumption and lifestyle habits. This is possible because, if in 2020, we have done it in a constrained and forced way, we will still be able to do it in the future by deliberate, thought out and organized decisions. It will be a matter of defining new economic paradigms, new lifestyles, new social relationships.
This would be the best proof that an obstacle can be turned into an asset. Because as everyone knows, environmental activist or not, if the current industrial civilization were to keep the same pace of evolution, all life on earth could be threatened.
Containment, curfews and especially the fear aroused by the pandemic have shown us that we can live on little, that we can live without producing excess carbon dioxide by limiting the movement of planes and other ultra-polluting ships.
The pandemic has led to a significant reduction in oil consumption, which anticipated the development of renewable energy favorable to a cleaner planetary collective life. This irreversible orientation undoubtedly announces a new energy revolution.
What is the new role of parliaments in this context of structural change?
The answer is very simple: to accomplish their three main missions with more courage and discernment:
- Within the framework of the legislative mission, the vision must be entirely new, even revolutionary; laws should no longer be adopted routinely or mechanically. If the lesson of the pandemic is to be useful, a new legislative project that would redefine all economic and social life will have to begin. In the social and sporting field, standards adapted to the context of collective safeguarding must be designed and adopted; in the world of work, teleworking will have to be codified and employer and employee relations redefined; in the area of international relations, parliaments must pursue their efforts to harmonize legislation and also efforts to integrate regional and sub-regional spaces; as such, the legislative tools of the ZLECAF must be ratified by all.
- With regard to the parliamentary oversight mission, we must also continue to innovate by going beyond methods based on plenary debates around questions whose answers prepared by obscure officials are read mechanically by ministers who know that there is no sanction that they can fear from the elect.
Faced with the expected major economic and social changes, parliamentary oversight must borrow their tools from auditing and results-based management, in order to lead to a gradual adaptation of the practice of “evaluation of public policies”.
- As regards the mission of representation, parliaments will henceforth have to become more open to citizens and involve them in the preparatory phase of the legislative procedure, so that the law is better accepted because it is less and less vertical. By virtue of their proximity to them, parliamentarians should also prepare grassroots citizens for societal changes which should help improve life in common by safeguarding the environment and creating decent conditions for the expression of social relations.
Ultimately, from the unforeseen shock of Covid-19, we must encourage parliaments in all countries to legislate better and prepare new paradigms that will make the world a better place.
In this regard, we must welcome the happy initiative of Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, the Mother of Peace, to organize the rally of hope in August 2020, an opportunity for imminent personalities of this world to transmit messages of peace and a new moral, ethical and spiritual, economic and cultural vision.
In addition, we will never stop thanking her for the multifaceted support granted by the UPF for the cause of peace and the defense of human values, more than ever highlighted in the post Covid-19 context.