By Gbenga Gbelee
President Muhamadu Buhari has charged member countries of the Economic Community of West African States to tread carefully in pushing for a single currency for the sub-region by 2020.
Speaking on Tuesday in Niamey, Republic of Niger, President Buhari cited the challenges faced by the European Union in realising the same goal to buttress his position.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President made his position known in his speech at the fourth meeting of the Presidential Task Force on the ECOWAS Currency Programme.
President Buhari said the necessary economic fundamentals among countries continue to differ over the years making it difficult to pull through with the ECOWAS currency project by 2020.
The Nigerian leader also recalled the current lessons unfolding in the European Union as part of the concerns which must be put into consideration while pursuing the integration agenda
President Buhari noted that Nigeria, as a country, will not be a party to any position that pushes for a fast-track of the monetary policy without preference for the fundamental and other pertinent issues.
He noted that some of the obstacles to realising the roadmap for the implementation of the single currency included diverse and uncertain macro-economic fundamentals of the countries involved, unrealistic inflation targeting based on flexible exchange rate regime and inconsistency with the African Monetary Cooperation Programme.
The president said domestic issues such as the constitution and dependence on foreign aids in ECOWAS member countries have continue to affect the framework for implementing a single currency in the sub-region.
He expressed the need for countries in the West African and Monetary Union to make a presentation on a clear roadmap towards delinking from the French treasury
However, the President of the ECOWAS commission, Marcel Alain de Souza said the single currency for the West African sub-region was a laudable and historic project which out to have been actualised.
He called for the establishment of a Central Bank of the West Coast describing it as a way out of the delay in actualising the ECOWAS Currency.