Delay Sub-Regional Currency Integration Beyond 2020, Buhari Urges ECOWAS

Delay Sub-Regional Currency Integration Beyond 2020, Buhari Urges ECOWAS

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Post Views: 609 Citing the lack of preparedness by some member countries and clear disparities in their macro-economic conditions, Nigeria’s President...

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Citing the lack of preparedness by some member countries and clear disparities in their macro-economic conditions, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, wants the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to slow down the sub-region’s planned currency integration earlier scheduled for 2020.
He called for a review of the fast-track approach to monetary integration and the harmonization of plans by ECOWAS members with that of the African Union Programme of monetary convergence that had recommended a convergence deadline of 2034 for the establishment of Regional Central Banks in all sub-regions of the continent.
Buhari also drew attention to the issue of credibility of the union if anchored on watered down criteria and other major issues of concern that members must examine in order to make progress.
Speaking at the 5th meeting of the Presidential Task Force on ECOWAS Currency Programme in Accra, Ghana, on Tuesday, Buhari, who was represented by Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), noted that ECOWAS Heads of Government had not been adequately briefed on the full implications of forcing through the integration by 2020, particularly where some countries were not individually ready domestically.
Also important, he noted, is the fact that Heads of Government had not properly articulated and analysed a comprehensive picture of the state of preparedness of individual countries for monetary integration by 2020.
While pointing out that there were still outstanding issues in the roadmap to an integrated currency union, he noted that the macro-economic fundamentals of many countries in ECOWAS were diverse and uncertain. He also noted that the inflation targeting regime recommended as framework was not feasible as it was based on adoption of a flexible exchange rate regime. He equally noted that real convergence was nowhere near achievable despite efforts made so far.
President Buhari therefore called for a push towards ratification and domestication of legal instruments and related protocols, and the harmonization of all fiscal, trade and monetary policies and statistical systems, with a view to limiting the extent of current policy divergences.
He also advised that the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) countries to make a presentation on a clear roadmap towards delinking from the French Treasury.
President Buhari also used the occasion of the meeting to call for the establishment of an Ombudsman with powers to invoke sanctions when member countries are in breach of agreed standards, protocols and convergence criteria.
The Nigerian President also called for the transformation of the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI) into a West African Monetary Zone Commission, equivalent to the UEMOA Commission, stressing that his proposal of merging WAMI and WAMA, by the ECOWAS Commission into the ECOWAS Monetary Institute would be very critical in achieving monetary union in the West African sub-region.

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