Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has cautioned member countries in West Africa never to let the desire for a common currency and economic prosperity for sub-region blind them to the adverse and contagions effects associated with a unified monetary area and common currency.
This is as the West African countries have again failed to meet all the convergence criteria for a common currency and unified monetary zone.
The meeting was organised to serve as a veritable opportunity for member countries to review their progress and come up with workable strategies aimed at accomplishing a common objective.
The CBN governor made the warning yesterday at the at the 37th Meeting of the Committee of Governors of Central Banks of the West African Monetary Zone in Abuja. “Our desire for greater economic prosperity for our people through a common monetary union must not vitiate our awareness of the potential adverse and contagion factors associated with unified monetary area and common currency,” Emefiele cautioned.
Emefiele noted that the unfolding trade war between the United States, China and the West portends both opportunities and challenges for the West African region’s economy, depending on how it was approached.
“Nonetheless, while the shocks to individual economies might vary in magnitude and intensity, it might yet be an opportunity for us to look inward and strategise on how best to fill the trade gap that would ensue,” the CBN governor said at the event that took place at the bank’s headquarters.
The central bank governor advocated that “now is the time to create the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) Commission to drive our common interests and aspirations. We must intensify our level of cooperation and collaboration through strong bonds to work as a unit within the ECOWAS monetary union programme to achieve our shared objective.”
He said it has become imperative for the region to bring this collective resolve to bear as it embarks on a thorough review of the economic conditions of member countries vis-a-vis their levels of preparedness for the monetary union and economic integration of the sub-region.
For this reason, the report of the 33rd Meeting of Joint Technical Committee that is scheduled to be submitted in the course of the WAMZ meetings he said, “should be meticulously and objectively studied for the purpose of gaining more clarity on the level of preparedness of member countries for regional integration.”
In addition, Emefiele said “the discussion should identify existing or potential impediments to the realisation of the deadline for the commencement of the currency union. This is imperative in order for us to jointly find viable options in accelerating progress towards achieving the integration objective.”
The CBN boss called on every WAMZ member country “to continue to work towards reversing the structural and institutional deficiencies that have continued to stalemate this unification process by working hand-in-hand with our various fiscal authorities in narrowing budget deficits, suboptimal fiscal performance, and encouraging investments in infrastructure amongst others.”
In her presentation of the summary of the progress report on the implementation of the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI) work programme, the director – general of WAMI, Mrs Ngozi Egbuna , disclosed that as at December, 2017, the assessment of member states’ performance on the primary convergence criteria showed that none of the countries met all the the four criteria.
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