September 25, 2020

A member of Ghana’s delegation to the fifth Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Clement Kofi Humado is advocating for the implementation of ECO next year using the gradualist approach.

This follows the uncertainty and delay that seems to be affecting the implementation of the single currency, ECO that the sub-region has been looking forward to.

According to him the ECO implementation should go along the gradualist approach where countries within the sub region who meet the convergence criteria can start with the implementation of the single currency, and allow other countries to join later as the years go by.

Speaking in an interview with Mr. Humado expressed worry over the delay in kick starting the single currency which has a 2020 deadline.  He fears the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the economies of all fifteen member countries may even worsen the quest for implementing the currency for all 15 member countries at a goal.

Mr. Humado further explained that, the Community lawmakers were informed by the ECOWAS Commissioner for Economic Affairs that the single currency would come into force this year possible in January, which they were all delighted about.

He pointed out that this was later revised to ending of either September or October, but with the 57th Session of Authority of Heads of State and Government in Niger, it has emerge that there is lack of consensus among the Heads of States on what to do with the ECO.

Again, “the Francophone countries are saying something different, and the Anglophone countries are also not unanimous on what to do. And the situation has become very complicated”.

On the ECO implementation, he pointed out that there are two school of thoughts, the first one being the ‘gradualist approach’ where those who meet the convergence criteria would start while others join gradually.

And the second being the ‘big bank approach’, where everybody should be pushed to join at the same time with the implementation of the ECO.

“Personally, I do not know what this whole thing is about anymore, I feel disappointed and I have spoken to few people within the sub-region, they have expressed same sentiment about the way things are going. The solution should be the gradualist approach, those that are able should start with remaining joining”, he lamented.

Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari at the 57th Ordinary session of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government in Niger, said his country remained committed to the implementation of the single currency plan.

But the decision of the French speaking West African countries to ambush their Anglophone counterparts on the proposed currency, without meeting laid down criteria had further created disaffection and mistrust among member-states.

A statement by the Presidential Spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, said Buhari encouraged “UEMOA (French acronym for the West African Economic and Monetary Union) to return to the roadmap on the common currency in the sub-region.”

It also said the president urged all stakeholders to “bear in mind that those economic convergence criteria must be based on sound and sustainable macroeconomic fundamentals.”

He quoted the president as saying, “Foreign interference and so-called advice may not be in our best sub-regional interest”, reiterating the “need for UEMOA to return to the agreed roadmap of the ECOWAS single currency by complying with the established framework under the roadmap and cooperate with other member countries in achieving the objectives of the programme.”

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/