Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed yesterday expressed skepticism over the possibility of the single currency regime of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) taking off next year. According to her, this is because only the Republic of Togo out of other ECOWAS nations has met the set criteria for achieving the target. Speaking at the ECOWAS Ministerial Committee of Ministers of Finance on the ECOWAS single currency regime in Abuja, Ahmed said with only one country meeting the criteria means it would be a very tall order to beat the 2020 takeoff deadline for the single currency regime.
According to her, there was need for member states to pursue appropriate policies and structural reforms that would enable them meet the convergence criteria within the shortest possible time. She, however, maintained the existing vulnerabilities in the global economy have not robbed the ECOWAS sub-region growth, going by what it has recorded in recent times.
She listed Nigeria as one of the African nations recording appreciable economic growth, pointing out that the federal government was aggressively implementing various reforms to enable the country to achieve its targets for the monetary union.
On border closure, Ahmed insisted that Nigeria shut her land borders against neighbouring countries because of their flagrant abuse of trade treaties. She said while Nigeria attached great importance to trade liberalisation, countries must be able to respect global trade commitments.
In his welcome address, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Kasi, said that member countries have made significant progress in several areas to achieve the monetary convergence. However, he said despite the progress made, there is still much work to be done. He described the meeting of the ministers of finance and governors of central banks as critical considering that the region has just few months to the proposed 2020 commencement date.