Nigeria has cautioned members of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) against a hasty move to introduce a single currency for West Africa States.
Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria who represented Nigeria at the just-concluded meeting of the Presidential Task Force on the ECOWAS single currency programme, which held in Accra said ECOWAS heads of government have not properly analysed a comprehensive picture of the state of preparedness of individual countries for monetary integration by 2020.
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.
However, 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.
“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.
Experts have 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,” the expert argued.