THE CONSTITUTION

 

ARTICLE 1: NAME AND ADDRESS

The Union shall be called “ECOWAS STAFF MUTUAL CREDIT UNION” (ESMCU). 

The address is at “Plot 101, Yakubu Gowon Crescent,Asokoro, Abuja

 

ARTICLE 2: OBJECTIVES

The Objectives of the Union are:

(a)  To encourage savings among its members;

(b)  To provide soft loans to its members;

(c)    To invest funds of its members;

(d)   To manage welfare packages for members

 

ARTICLE 3: STRATEGIC GOALS & VISION

(a)  To be able to process all qualified applications for term loans or partial withdrawal from members within 48 hours;

(b)  To become the foremost welfarist organization for catering for staff / member’s  needs without hassles;

(c)  To metamorphose into a viable & dependable micro finance institution within the ECOWAS framework.

 

ARTICLE  4:  MEMBERSHIP

Membership is voluntary and it is open to all permanent and contract staff of ECOWAS Institutions. A registration fee of FCFA 20,000 is to be paid on joining.

 

ARTICLE 5: THE FUNDS OF THE UNION

The Funds of the Union shall be derived from:

(a)  Registration fees of FCFA 20,000 per person;

(b)  Savings of members;

(c)  Interest income from loans and fixed deposit

(d)  Donations

(e)  Miscellaneous income;

(f)   Monies entrusted to the Union to manage on behalf of it’s members.

 

ARTICLE 6: MONTHLY SAVINGS

 (a)     Members of the Union shall make regular monthly savings which shall be  deducted at source from members’ salaries; the Union can also receive bulk funds  deposits from members who wish to increase their savings

(b)     The minimum monthly savings shall be FCFA 50.000.

 

ARTICLE 7:  LOANS AND REPAYMENTS

 (i)    There shall be two (2) types of loans, namely:

 (a)        NORMAL LOAN: This shall be granted when a member is qualified for such    loan under the provisions of the rules and regulations;

(b)     SPECIAL LAON: This shall be granted only in emergency situations.

    (ii)   A member qualifies for a loan six months after joining the Union;

    (iii)  The maximum loan shall not be more than five times the total

           savings of a member;

    (iv)  All amounts loaned are to be repaid in monthly installments over a

           period of not more than 36 months;

   (v)  The interest rate shall be 5% for Normal loan and 10% for Special loan;

   (vi)  Application for loan has to be endorsed by two other members who will

          act as guarantors and must be confirmed permanent staff of ECOWAS;

   (vii)  In the event of death, retirement, termination of appointment with

           ECOWAS or resignation, any outstanding loan shall be recovered from

           the member’s terminal benefits / Loan guarantors;

   (viii)   Guide lines on loan approval/processing for each of the two types of loans shall be determined from time to time by the AGM on recommendation of the Executive Committee.

 

ARTICLE 8(a) INVESTMENT OF FUNDS

The Funds of the Union shall be invested after making adequate provisions for loans, bearing in mind the criteria of profitability, accessibility, liquidity and security of such funds.

 

ARTICLE 8(b):  AREAS OF INVESTMENTS

The investment referred to in (7a) above shall be in the following areas:

·         Fixed deposit in banks where the Union has its account 

·         Any other area decided by the AGM

 

ARTICLE 9:  DIVIDENDS TO MEMBERS

 (a)  Members may receive dividends on their savings at the end of the financial year if so decided at the Annual General meeting. The amount to be paid to each member shall take into account his//her overall savings in the Union as of 31stDecember of the year. 

(b)  If a member retires from the service of the Community and wishes to retain his/her investment in the Union, he/she shall be allowed and shall earn dividend on the investment.

 (c)  However, such retired member shall not be eligible for loan facilities from the Union.

 

ARTICLE 10:  RESERVE FUND

 (a)     The Union shall maintain a Reserve Fund which shall protect the Union

 in case of loss;

(b)     The Reserve Fund shall be credited with at least 1% of the net surplus

at the end of each financial year. This Fund shall not exceed the equivalent of 10% of the outstanding loans.

 

ARTICLE 11:  APPLICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP

      (a)    Application for membership shall be in writing on a prescribed form;

      (b)   The application shall include the name(s) of all his Next-of-kin.

 

ARTICLE 12: WITHDRAWAL FROM MEMBERSHIP

 (a)    A member may withdraw from the Union after giving 31 days notice in

       writing;

(b)   Such withdrawal cannot be effective until the member has liquidated all

his indebtedness;

(c)    On withdrawal, a member shall be entitled to his savings less any

outstanding loan(s).

 

ARTICLE 13: EXPULSION FROM THE UNION

 (a)     A member may be expelled from the Union by a 2/3 majority vote at the

Annual General Meeting;

      (b)   Reasons for expulsion shall be:

             (i arrears in contribution over a period of twelve consecutive months;

             (ii) behavior that is not in the interest of the Union.

            

 

ARTICLE 14: EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

 (a)   The conduct of the affairs of the Union shall be under the control and

 management of the Executive Committee;

(b)   It shall include the following officials, President, Vice President,

Secretary, Treasurer, Auditor, Accountant, and such other officers as the Union may require.

(c)    The members of the Executive Committee shall be elected by the Annual

General Meeting and they shall hold office for a period of two (2) years

renewable only once.

(d)   The functions of the Executive Committee members are voluntary / non remunerated functions. However, due to the extra workload imposed on members of the Executive in addition to their normal work schedule, the AGM allocates a fix amount per annum for each member as incentive/sitting allowance.

(e)   The Executive Committee must meet statutorily, once every quarter. However, it may hold other meetings when necessary, for the effective operations of the mutual fund.

 

ARTICLE 15: FUNCTIONS OF THE EXECUTIVES

The President:

The President shall preside at all General Meetings and meetings of the

Executive Committee. He is the approving officer of all transactions on the Mutual’s funds.

Vice-President:

The Vice-President shall perform the duties of the President when the latter is absent.

Secretary:

The Secretary shall keep the minutes of all General Meetings and all meetings of the Executive Committee, and shall perform such other duties as are regularly performed by a Secretary.

Treasurer:

(a)   The Treasurer shall keep a full and complete record of all financial

transactions and monies of the Union;

(b)   He shall prepare a monthly financial statement for examination by the

Executive Committee;

(c)   He shall prepare a balance sheet and an income and expenditure account

at the end of each financial year;

(d)   He shall perform such other duties as are regularly performed by a

Treasurer.

The Accountant:

      (a) The Accountant shall keep all the accounting books of the Union;

      (b) The Accountant in collaboration with the Treasurer shall prepare the

            monthly financial statement and the balance sheet at the end of the

            financial year;

(f)     He shall perform such other duties as are regularly performed by an

Accountant.

Internal Auditor:

The duties of the Internal Auditor shall be the following:

(i)     To ensure that both the Treasurer and Accountant keep relevant

     accounting records;

    (ii)   To ensure that a monthly financial statement is prepared jointly by the

           Treasurer and the Accountant;

    (iii)  To ensure that the Treasurer and the Accountant jointly prepare a balance

           sheet and an income and expenditure account at the end of the financial

           year;

    (iv)  Check the cash on hand, bank accounts and investments at least once

           every three months;

    (v)   To ensure that a complete audit of books of accounts is made at least

           once a year;

    (vi)  Check each member’s account against his personal ledger at least

           once a year;

    (vii)  Meet monthly with the Treasurer and Accountant to check and sign the

            monthly financial statement;

    (viii)  Draw the attention of the Executive Committee to any lapses observed.

 

ARTICLE 16: DUTIES OF THE EXCUTIVE COMMITTEE

 (a)   The Executive Committee is the Executive organ of the Union. Subject to

 the authority of the General Meeting and these bye-laws, the Executive Committee shall perform or authorize all actions necessary to achieve the aims of the Union;

  (b) It shall in particular:

          (i)   Represent the Union in its dealings and transactions;

          (ii)  Decide on the bond which may be required of employees or officers

                handling the funds and property of the Union;

          (iii) Open Bank Accounts in the name of the Union and decide on the

                investments of funds;

          (iv) Decide on the person(s) empowered to receive or pay out money on

                behalf of  the Union;

          (v) Decide on the amount of cash which may be held on hand by the

               person(s) handling the cash;

         (vi) Ensure that true and accurate records of all transactions of the Union

               are kept;

        (viii) Make rules and policies concerning the processing of all loans

                 applications;

        (ix)  Take necessary action against delinquent borrowers;

   (x)  Impose fines on delinquent borrowers, if necessary;

        (xi)  Recommend to the Annual General Meeting the interest rate on savings

               and the rebate rate for interest paid on loans;

        (xii) The Executive Committee shall have the power to delegate to an officer

               or employee of the Union such of its own powers as it may deem

               necessary.

 

ARTICLE 17:  EXTERNAL AUDITOR

 (a)  External Auditors shall be appointed by the Annual General Meeting from amongst interested Auditors who have submitted application for appointment;

(b)  They shall audit the accounts of the Union at the end of the financial year and present the audited accounts to the Annual General Meeting;

(c)  The term of office of the External Auditors shall be twelve (12) calendar months, renewable upon satisfactory performance for a period not more than 3 years.

 

ARTICLE 18: ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF OF THE UNION

    (a)  The Executive Committee is assisted by qualified accountants and other administrative staff for the day to day running of the operations of the Mutual. The Office is headed by the Senior Accounting Assistant and may comprise assisting accountants, administrative staff as the AGM may adopt. These are the staff of the Union, paid from the resources of the Union.

     (b)  They shall perform the following functions:

i)    Prepare, keep and regularly update all books of accounts of the Mutual

ii)   Preparation of draft end of the year final accounts for the mutual

iii) Preparation of loan assessment forms to be submitted to the Executive    Committee for approval

iv)  Preparation and distribution of periodic statement of accounts for members

v) preparation of quarterly financial report to be submitted to the executive   committee at their quarterly meeting

vi)   Any other assignment given to them by the Executive Committee   

 

ARTICLE 19: GENERAL MEETINGS

The supreme authority of the Union shall be vested in the members who exercise their powers through voting at Annual and Special General Meetings.

 

ARTICLE 20: ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

        (a)  The Annual General Meeting shall be held every year within three (3) months

              after the close of the calendar year;

       (b)  The members shall be informed of the Annual General Meeting at least

              one week in advance.

 

ARTICLE 21: BUSINESS AT ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

The Annual General Meeting shall:

(a)    Confirm the minutes of the previous Annual General Meeting and any

   intervening Special General Meeting;

(b)    Receive the Annual Report of the Union, the statement of accounts

  and the External auditor’s report;

(c)    Decide on the recommendation of the Executive with regards to proposed dividend and transfer to  Reserved Fund;

(d)    Consider appeals against the expulsion of members;

(e)    Elect members of the Executive Committee and authorize the Executive Committee to appoint External Auditors;

(f)     Authorize the Executive Committee to fix salaries, allowances and honoraria for employees of  the Union;

(g)    Amend the bye-laws in accordance with paragraph 34 of these bye-laws;

(h)   Conduct any other business.

 

ARTICLE 22: SPECIAL GENERAL MEETING

      (a)   An extra-ordinary General Meeting shall be held when requested by:

             (i a 2/3 majority vote of the Executive Committee, or

             (ii)  a written request from at least one-fourth of the members;

      (b)   The Extra-ordinary General Meeting shall be announced to members at least one

             week in advance.

 

ARTICLE 23:  BUSINESS AT SPECIAL GENERAL MEETING

     (a)   The business of an extra-ordinary General Meeting shall be made known to

             members in the announcement for the meeting;

     (b)   The extra-ordinary General Meeting shall consider only the announced business.

 

ARTICLE 24:  VOTING AT GENERAL MEETING

     (a) Each member shall have one vote;

     (b) Voting may be by ballot;

     (c) A member must be present to vote and be voted for.

     (d) A retiree member can vote but cannot be voted for

 

ARTICLE 25:  QUORUM AT GENERAL MEETINGS

     (a) The quorum at Annual and Special General Meeting shall be one third 1/3

           of the members of the Union;

     (b) In case a quorum has not been reached, a ľ majority of the members present may form an umbrella quorum for the meeting to proceed.

 

ARTICLE 26:  AMENDMENT OF RULES AND REGULATIONS

     (a)  These bye-laws may be amended by a two third 2/3 majority vote of

            Members present at a General Meeting;

     (b)  No amendment of the bye-laws can be made unless the proposed

           amendment was specified in the notice calling members to the meeting.

 

ARTICLE 27:  AFFILIATION

The Union shall have the power to affiliate with any Regional or National Association established with the objective of facilitating the operations of savings and credit societies in accordance with co-operative principles.

 

ARTICLE 28:  DISPUTES

All disputes within the Union which cannot be settled by the Executive Committee or a General Meeting shall be referred to arbitration of the Community Court of Justice and the applicable law shall be the Rules of Procedure and other relevant texts relating to Arbitration.

 

ARTICLE 29:  LIQUIDATION

The Union shall be liquidated only by a unanimous vote at Annual General Meeting on grounds of:

·         When the Union cannot settle its liabilities;

·         When ECOWAS Commission is liquidated;

·         Other reasons as may be unanimously approved by the Annual General Meeting.

 

ARTICLE 30:  ENTRY INTO FORCE

These bye-laws enter into force upon their adoption by the General Assembly.

 

Done at this 5th day of April 2013.                       

The General Assembly.