A Deputy Minister for Finance, Kwaku Kwarteng has rejected the position held by pessimists that the 2020 target for the implementation of the ECOWAS single currency is unachievable.
Speaking in an interview on the Morning Xpress on Thursday, the minister referred to those claims as uninformed, saying the revised road map which hinges on a gradualist approach as adopted by the Technical Committee changes the paradigm shift.
A senior lecturer from the Department of Finance at the University of Ghana Business School, Dr Lord Mensah had earlier cast doubts on attaining a single currency for the Economic Community of West African States [ECOWAS] before 2020.
Speaking on the Morning Xpress, the Financial analyst noted that a solid foundation to achieve that purpose within the stipulated time has not been laid.
But Mr Kwaku Kwarteng believes it is possible to attain a single currency for the states since the right things are being put in place by a task-force whose work is to realize the idea.
“If it has happened for the Euro zone, why can it not happen here? It calls for commitment. We can do it. . .If leaders are committed to spend within their means to have low deficit and to meet criteria that will put their economies in good position to integrate, why not?” he told the host, Kofi Oppong Asamoah.
When asked the way forward to attaining the 2020 deadline, the minister said: “There has been convergence criteria that require that all those ECOWAS member state should be able display before we proceed to have a common currency. We have come to point where the leadership has decided that the modalities should be made to make it possible for ECOWAs countries that get ready to start that common currency. . .The idea is to work out the modalities so that by 2020 member states that get ready can join,” he explained.
He said the presidential task-force of the countries has decided that the modalities should be worked out latest by 2020 “so that any country that is ready can join without waiting for others to get ready.”
The four primary criteria to be achieved by each member country are: A single-digit inflation rate at the end of each year, a fiscal deficit of not more than 4% of the GDP, a Central Bank deficit-financing of no more than 10% of the previous year’s tax revenues and gross external reserves that can give import cover for a minimum of three months.
Mr Kwarteng said so far no name has been adopted for currency but countries are expected to work towards renewed commitments to achieve set targets.
Single Currency Meeting
Ghana is hosting the 5th Meeting of the ECOWAS Presidential Task Force on the Single Currency.
It began on Wednesday February 21,2018 at the Accra International Conference Centre, where it has in attendance some Heads of State within the sub region including Nigerian President, Mahamadu Buhari, Ivoirian President, Allasane Ouataraa, President of Niger, Issoufou Mahamadu, and governors of Central Banks and Finance Ministers from the ECOWAS region.
The meeting which is chaired by President Akufo-Addo will among other things provide member countries with a common platform to deliberate on issues and adopt a revised road map to accelerate the creation of the single currency by 2020.
It was preceded by two Technical meetings which included representatives from the Ministries of Finance from Cote D’Ivioire, Ghana, Nigeria and Niger and Central Banks of ECOWAS member states as well as regional institutions involved in the ECOWAS Monetary Cooperation UEMOA Commission, the West Africa Monetary Agency [WAMI], and the United Nations Commission for Africa.