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Nigeria, Ghana disagree on single currency for ECOWAS

Nigeria, Ghana disagree on single currency for ECOWAS
February 24
17:31 2018

Nigeria and Ghana have taken different positions on the introduction of a single currency for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

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Both countries failed to agree on the initiative at the just-concluded meeting of the Presidential Task Force on the ECOWAS single currency programme, which held in Accra

Nana Akufo-Addo, Ghanaian president, argued that member states should ensure that the single currency be introduced by 2020.

He stated that ECOWAS was blessed with abundant human and material resources, hence having a common currency would speed up stronger commercial ties with accompanying benefits.

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“We remain determined to have a single currency which will help remove trade and monetary barriers, reduce transaction cost, boost economic activity and raise the living standard of our people. It is a goal, we must achieve,” he said.

Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria who represented Nigeria at the meeting, cautioned against a hasty move to introduce a single currency for West Africa.

According to him, ECOWAS heads of government have not properly analysed a comprehensive picture of the state of preparedness of individual countries for monetary integration by 2020.

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These comments mirror the views expressed by President Muhammadu Buhari at the 4th meeting of the presidential task force on the ECOWAS currency, which held in Niger in 2017.

At that meeting, Buhari said Nigeria would not endorse the quick implementation of the currency policy because of diverse and uncertain macroeconomic fundamentals of many countries.

“In previous meetings, we had specifically raised observations on the state of preparedness of the member states, the credibility of the union if anchored on watered down criteria, and the continuing disparities between macroeconomic conditions in ECOWAS countries, amongst others. And I would like to reiterate these concerns,’’ Buhari said.

FEARS MISPLACED

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Speaking with TheCable in Abuja, Julius Bino, an economist and public analyst, described the fears expressed by Nigeria as legitimate but unnecessary, stressing that a common currency would expand market opportunities for Nigerian goods and products.

“Having a single currency would be of immense benefit to Nigeria. It would give our business men and prospective investors the chance to navigate the West African sub-region without the usual bureaucratic bottlenecks we experience,” he argued.

“Imagine what a company like Innoson motors will gain. Remember the recent sales of Innoson cars in Mali. Our manufacturing sector would be favourably placed. The benefits are countless.

He suggested an agreement would address whatever differences existed.

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“Nigeria has been the champion of African integration at all levels. West Africa is our natural forte. The fears expressed are very legitimate, but the benefits of joining the single currency market is bigger. Conventional analysis shows multilateral engagement is the best.”

 

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