Buhari Cautions ECOWAS Against Single Regional Currency

President Muhamadu Buhari has cautioned member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to tread carefully in pushing for a single currency in the sub-region.

Speaking on Tuesday in Niamey, Republic of Niger, Buhari said the necessary economic fundamentals among countries continue to differ over the years, making it more difficult to pull through with the project by 2020.

President’s spokesman, Femi Adesina in a statement on Tuesday said Buhari during the meeting advised ECOWAS community to take into consideration lessons currently unfolding in the European Union.

READ ALSO: Buhari Attends ECOWAS Meeting In Niamey

“Nigeria advises that we proceed cautiously with the integration agenda, taking into consideration the above concerns and the lessons currently unfolding in the European Union.

“To that end, Nigeria will caution against any position that pushes for a fast-track approach to monetary union, while neglecting fundamentals and other pertinent issues,’’ the statement read.

Buhari also notes that numerous obstacles confront realising a single currency in the sub-region. Some of them he highlighted to include diverse and uncertain macroeconomic fundamentals, unrealistic inflation and inconsistency with the African monetary co-operation programme.

He said domestic issues in ECOWAS member countries relating to their constitutions and dependence on aids continue to affect the framework for implementing the single currency in the sub-region.

He told the Heads of State that the conditions that pushed Nigeria into withdrawing from the process in the past had not changed.

Nigeria had earlier withdrawn from the process because its key questions and concerns were ignored and till date, none of the issues has come up as an agenda issue to be considered by the task force.

President Buhari, therefore, suggested a thorough review of the convergence roadmap and the constitution of expert committee subject areas to come up with an acceptable time frame, defined cost and funding sources identified.

The president of the ECOWAS commission, Marcel Alain De Souza, said the single currency for the West African sub-region was a laudable and historical project, but regretted that it had taken too long to be actualised.

Buhari also took to his verified Twitter handle @Mbuhari to explain some of there discussions about the regional single currency during the ECOWAS meeting in Niamey.



West Africa Is Not Ready For Single Currency – Isemede

vlcsnap-2014-07-22-17h12m47s210As West African countries plan monetary union that will see all countries under the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) maintain a single currency, the Director of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture,(NACCIMA) says the region is not ready for such development. 

Speaking on Channels Television’s Program, Business Morning, on Tuesday, Mr John Isemede said that West Africa was not ready for the single currency because most Francophone countries had no control over their interest rate or exchange rate, a situation that would create chances of over devaluation of other countries’ currencies.

“We have been on the project for over 10 years. Ghana and Nigeria was not devaluated the same day but the Francophone countries were devaluated the same day.

“We  don’t have ECOWAS central bank and should get a central bank by oraganising the sub-region, before planning to unify the currency in African countries. We have to put our house in order and put the sub-region as one body,” he emphasised.

The Director General of NACCIMA insisted that “before ECOWAS begins to promote the single currency and businesses, West Africa needs to make the region a conducive place for business”.  He suggested that the monetary agency should use their own local currency through their Central Bank to import goods from Ghana to Sierra- Leone and other parts of African countries.

Another guest on the programme, a columnist, Mr Gabriel Idahosa, also pointed out that ECOWAS was not ready for the change, citing the inflation level of most African countries as a big challenge.

He also stressed that most of the criteria set for African countries as development goals had not been met because of high rate of inflation.

“Most African countries are still struggling to meet the criteria. You will first have to meet the criteria and run it for three to four years by keeping the deposit by four per cent and then a common currency emerges,” he said.

Idahosa called on West African governments to open up the physical structure by making business move freely across the border of most African countries.

Mr Isemede and Mr Idahosa’s comments are coming few days after the Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, said that the lunching of a Single Currency for the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) by January 2015 might not be feasible.

At a meeting of the West African Central Bank Governors held in Abuja on July, Mr Emefiele called on leaders in the region to redouble efforts in maintaining fiscal and monetary supervision in their countries.

“It is unlikely at this time. Despite this disappointing update, we need to use the new period created by this to redouble our efforts toward the final realisation of this objectives.

“In this regard, there is need for the intensification of effort towards meeting the laid down convergence material, in sensitisation of all stakeholders in the ratification of various West African monetary zone protocols and in their consequent implementation,” Mr Emefiele said.



































ECOWAS Countries Optimistic Of Single Currency By January 2015

Nigeria-NairaOfficials of West African apex banks have expressed optimism  of introducing a single currency in the region by January 1, 2015 if issues of macro-economic stability and inflation are addressed by member countries.

The banks’ officials gave the expression at a a meeting organised by the West African Monetary Zones committee in Abuja on Monday.

The Supervising Minister of National Planning, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda, said achieving a single currency within the ECOWAS sub region was significant to the growth of the region’s economy.

Ambassador Yuguda therefore called on leaders in the sub region to fastrack policies and programmes that would help in achieving the set target at the right time.

He maintained that one key decision that would be taken at the meeting was how to attain a single currency within the region.

Although previous dates for the commencement of the policy was not achieved, government officials at the meeting believe the implementation of key policies by member countries is key to the attainment of the objective by 2015.

Yuguda stressed that, achieving the ‎aspiration of a single currency might not be without some challenges, explaining that  officials of international bodies have promised to give a hand of support.

They also advised that the non-tariff barriers in the sub region should be removed.

Several dates for the implementation of the single currency policy in the West African region had been fixed before but was not actualised, but Ambassador Yuguda, however, said that the experts’ hopes are high that it would be actualised within less than six months left.

The meeting, which had experts in attendance and representatives from member countries, was the 37th meeting of the West African Monetary Zone.