ABUJA – Dr Sarah Alade, Central Bank Deputy Governor, Economic Policies, said Nigeria was the only country that met the four primary convergence criteria for attaining single currency in west African region.
“It is important to recall that the deadline for the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) countries to achieve monetary integration was set at January 1, 2015.
“Also, the modified revenue approach under the aegis of ECOWAS was approved by assembly of heads of states and government to replace the two track approach to monetary integration in ECOWAS for January 1 2020.
“It is imperative for the technical committee to thoroughly interrogate the issues and identify the key challenges that need to be addressed in order to achieve the objective of single currency in our sub region.
According to her, Liberia and Sierra Leone satisfied three out of the four criteria.
She said that there had been consistent challenge of year-to-year compliance of the criteria by the member states.
Alade said that discussions in the meeting would focus on WAMZ macro-economic development and convergence report, WAMZ state of preparedness for monetary integration and review of contribution proficiency to West African Monetary Institute (WAMI) budget.
Others were proposal for the transformation of WAMI into WAMZ commission, WAMZ payment system development project progress update, West African capital market integration and other administration issues, she said.
Dr Nelson Magbagbeola, Acting Director of Multilateral Surveillance, ECOWAS Commission, said that the commission was committed to the integration, inclusive growth and development of the region.
“Specifically, the Authority adopted the creation of a fiscal union to complement the monetary union and reduction of macroeconomic convergence criteria from 11 criteria to six criteria.
“The three primary criteria adopted by the heads of state last Friday are as follows: budget deficit, including grants and commitment basis, not more than three per cent of GDP.
“ The average annual inflation should be single digit with long term goal of five per cent by 2019.
”The third primary criteria adopted by the heads of state is the gross reserve of three months of import.’’ According to him, the secondary convergence criteria adopted by the authority are public debt to GDP ratio of 70 per cent.
Others include Central Bank financing of budget deficit of 10 per cent of previous year’s tax revenue and nominal exchange rate variation of plus or minus 10 per cent.
He assured that the ECOWAS would continue to support all effort to facilitate the monetary integration process. (NAN)