The Vice-President, Mahamudu Bawumia has said the adoption of a single currency by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) would enhance the economic co-operation of the sub-region.
He, therefore, urged ECOWAS nations to implement sound economic policies in order to meet the convergence criteria by 2020.
He said with the improvement of the economies of the ECOWAS nations in recent times, the future was bright for the sub-region.
Vice-President Bawumia said this when he welcomed President of Cote d’Ivoire Alassane Ouattara and President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger on Tuesday for the Fifth Meeting of the Presidential Taskforce on the ECOWAS Single Currency Programme slated for Wednesday, February 21, 2018, in Accra.
He entreated countries in the sub-region to move beyond aid and focus on building vibrant economies to better the lives of their peoples.
The meeting of the ECOWAS heads of states is part of the process of implementing the recommendations of the Niamey Meeting of the Presidential Taskforce held in October 2017, which instructed the Ministerial Committee to meet within three months to adopt a new road roadmap for accelerating the process of creating the ECOWAS Single Currency.
The Preparatory Technical Committee of the Presidential Taskforce on the ECOWAS Single Currency Programme is expected to present its draft report on the Roadmap to the adopt of ECO in 2020.
Mr Marcel A De Souza, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, at the opening of the second meeting of the ECOWAS Ministerial Committee of the Presidential Taskforce, said ECOWAS countries that achieve three per cent budget deficit by 31 December, 2019, three months import reserves and between five and 10 per cent inflation rate would start implementing the ECO by 2020.
Mr Souza said ECOWAS countries needed US$4.4 million dollars outstanding funds to support the implementation of the single currency roadmap and that member countries are supposed to contribute their quota towards its realisation.
The key convergence criteria needed to achieve the goal of a common ECOWAS currency include; strong and unwavering political support and regional integration efforts that require political and economic projects, fiscal discipline, combined with fiscal transparency and a regional independent Central Bank.
More so there is the need for robust regional institutions to enforce the common rules, strong banking supervision to safeguard the stability of the financial sector and formal division of powers between national and regional institutions as well as establishment of regional surveillance mechanisms.