The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Tuesday, raised concerns over the planned single currency for the Economic Community of West African States.
He said the plan for the single currency, Eco, could be in serious jeopardy,” unless member states complied with agreed processes of reaching the collective goal.
The Eco is the proposed name for the common currency that the West African Monetary Zone plans to introduce in the framework of ECOWAS.
After its introduction, the goal is to merge the new currency with the West African CFA franc used by most French-speaking members of ECOWAS since 1945.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President delivered Nigeria’s position on the new regional currency at a virtual extraordinary meeting of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the West African Monetary Zone.
The meeting was said to have discussed the implementation of the ECOWAS Monetary Cooperation Programme and the ECOWAS Single Currency Agenda.
Buhari was said to have expressed concern over the decision of francophone countries that form the West African Economic and Monetary Union to replace the CFA Franc with Eco ahead of the rest of member states.
He recalled that member states reverted to a single-track approach, giving up Eco which is the original idea of the WAMZ so the ECOWAS-wide programme could thrive.
He added that they have made remarkable progress, including the adoption of the exchange rate regime, the name, and model of the common Central Bank and the symbol.
He noted that ministers of the different countries had also been urged towards an expeditious path to success.
Buhari said, “It, therefore, gives me an uneasy feeling that the UEMOA Zone now wishes to take up the Eco in replacement for its CFA Franc ahead of the rest of the member states.
‘‘This is in addition to deviating from the Community Act on consistent attainment of convergence in the three years running up to the introduction of the currency, and our subsequent reinforcing directives.
‘‘I am informed that the French ministers have approved a bill to reform the CFA Franc and most, if not all of the UEMOA member states, have already passed legislation in their various parliaments to that effect.
‘‘It is a matter of concern that a people with whom we wish to go into a union are taking these major steps without trusting us for discussion.”
The President, who assured ECOWAS leaders of Nigeria’s commitment to the ECOWAS single currency, urged them to consider the recommendations made by the Convergence Council and take a common position to safeguard the West African Monetary Zone from the pitfalls of a questionable union.
He affirmed Nigeria’s support for a monetary union with the right fundamentals, which guarantees credibility, sustainability, and overall regional prosperity and sovereignty.