The Nigerian government has cautioned on hasty integration of currency at the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) sub-regional level in view of the pervasive disparities in the macro-economic conditions of member-countries.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who gave the advice during the 5th meeting of the Presidential Task Force on ECOWAS Currency Programme in Accra, Ghana, canvassed the resolution of the outstanding issues in the roadmap to an integrated currency being articulated by sub-regional governments before the adoption of the proposed for year 2020.
Specifically, the President identified lack of preparedness of some member countries as well as pervasive disparities in macro-economic conditions of ECOWAS countries as major hurdles that must be tackled before progress could be made on the proposed monetary convergence initiative.
President Buhari, who was represented at the forum by the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, pointed out that the Heads of State and Government in the ECOWAS had not properly articulated and analysed a comprehensive picture of the state of preparedness of individual countries for monetary integration by 2020.
This is even as he also noted the ECOWAS leaders had not been briefed adequately on the full implications of forcing through the integration by 2020, especially where some member-countries are not ready domestically.
The Nigerian leader also pointed out that the inflation targeting regime recommended as framework was not feasible as it was based on adoption of a flexible exchange rate regime, adding that despite efforts made so far achieving full convergence of a sub-regional conference is not still achievable.
In order to move forward in the currency integration drive, the President 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.
President Buhari also advised that the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) countries to make a presentation on a clear roadmap towards delinking from the French Treasury.
Similarly, he also canvassed 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.
In addition, President Buhari also called for the establishment of an Ombudsman with powers to invoke sanctions when member-countries are in breach of agreed standards, protocols and convergence criteria, amongst other recommendations