President Muhamadu Buhari has asked members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to be cautious in the objective of having a single currency for the sub-region by 2020.
In a statement released by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President said lessons should be taken from the challenges faced by the European Union and the implementation of the Euros currency.
Buhari said “Nigeria advises that we proceed cautiously with the integration agenda, taking into consideration the above concerns and the lessons currently unfolding in the European Union.
“To that end, Nigeria will caution against any position that pushes for a fast-track approach to a monetary union, while neglecting fundamentals and other pertinent issues,”
He said particular attention should be paid to issues such as the diverse and uncertain macro-economic fundamentals of many countries; unrealistic inflation targeting based on flexible exchange rate regime; and inconsistency with the African Monetary Cooperation Programme before pushing for a single currency.
The statement further said, “Although the ECOWAS Commission has anchored its pursuit of the new impetus to monetary integration on the information presented to the heads of state, which were the basis for their recommendations, we are concerned that we have not properly articulated and analysed a comprehensive picture of the state of preparedness of individual countries for monetary integration in ECOWAS by 2020.
“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 this concern.”
Buhari said, “Nigeria had earlier withdrawn from the process because its key questions and concerns were ignored and till date, none of the issues has come up as an agenda issue to be considered by the taskforce.
“Consequently, the road map which did not involve widespread consultation with national stakeholders is not sufficiently inclusive,”
Hence, Buhari said a thorough review should be given to the road map for the implementation of the single currency with all issues of concern properly addressed and the relevant stakeholders should be duly consulted during such a review.