Single Currency: ECOWAS Presidential Task Force to Meet Dec.
ECOWAS President, Jean-Claude Brou
The ECOWAS Presidential Task Force on single currency would meet in December to achieve the 2020 target for a monetary union, the commission’s President, Mr Jean-Claude Brou has disclosed.
Brou said this while presenting the Community Work Programme at the ongoing Second Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament on Wednesday in Abuja.
The commission’s president recalled that the Heads of State had set aside 2020 for West African countries to achieve the single currency which would promote economic integration.
“They also reaffirmed the decision that was taken earlier that countries that were ready will start the process in 2020 and those who were not will be given time to join. There is a technical meeting that will be held early next month, specifically the Task Force meeting.”
“It will discuss progress on the roadmap for the single currency but with a focus on the issue of the monetary policy framework harmonisation. They will also discuss the issues of the next regional central bank and the main logo for the single currency; these are very important issues that they will discuss early next month.”
He, however, said that many member-states had yet to meet the macroeconomic convergence criteria required for a monetary union.
According to reports, the ECOWAS authority had approved the reduction of the macroeconomic convergence criteria from 11 (four primary and seven secondary) to six (three primary and three secondary).
The three primary criteria that are being used are a budget deficit of not more than three per cent; average annual inflation of less than 10 per cent with a long term goal of not more than five per cent by 2019; and gross reserves that can finance at least three months of imports.
The three secondary convergence criteria that have been adopted by ECOWAS are public debt/Gross Domestic Product of not more than 70 per cent; central bank financing of budget deficit should not be more than 10 per cent of previous year’s tax revenue; and nominal exchange rate variation of plus or minus 10 per cent.
On the economic progress being made, he said a 3.4 per cent growth rate was projected for the ECOWAS region in 2019 against three per cent experienced in 2018.
Brou further said that six member-states recorded growth rates of more than six per cent in 2018.
The countries are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Niger, Ghana and Senegal.
Furthermore, on the Common External Tariff (CET), he said the tariff was being implemented in all member states except Cape Verde, which he noted that a study to assess the impact was being carried out by its government. (NAN)