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ECOWAS, FG see snags in single currency take-off next month

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Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed. Photo: TWITTER/FINMINNIGERIA

The President, Economic Commission for West African States (ECOWAS), Jean-Claude Brou, has said that the path to economic convergence in the region remains a key challenge of progress towards monetary integration in the sub-region.

He seems to be on the same page with Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, who pointed out that the 2020 date for take off of the ECOWAS currency might be unrealistic following the inability of member states to meet their convergence criteria.

The duo made disclosed at the meeting of The Ministers of Finance and Governors of Central Banks of ECOWAS in Abuja.

Another challenge, Brou said, is that created by the security situation in West Africa.

His words, “We need to continue to work collectively to deal in an adequate manner with those remaining challenges.”

Explaining that since the last meeting in Abidjan in June, progress had been made in several areas, including the implementation of the various institutional programmes and the Revised Roadmap Activities of the Single Currency, the adoption of a flexible exchange rate regime with a monetary policy framework focused on targeting inflation, the adoption of the federal system as the model of the ECOWAS Central Bank as well as the adoption of ‘ECO’ as the name of the ECOWAS currency.

“Our meeting today is indeed a critical one as we are just a few months before 2020; hence, our principals will be expecting the Report of the Ministerial Committee on the Single Currency, which will be presented to them on December 21, 2019. Expectations are also very high within our community regarding the introduction of the single currency,” Brou had said in June.

He stated that a closer look would have to be taken on ways to accelerate the implementation of the roadmap of the single currency programme by removing all difficulties.

Ahmed argued that reports indicated that Togo was the only country that met the criteria; hence any move in that direction would be impossible for the commission going ahead with only one country.

She, however, assured that the Nigerian government was in full support of the establishment of an ECOWAS bank, which would go a long way in facilitating trade among member states.


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