President Muhamadu Buhari has cautioned member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to tread carefully in pushing for a single currency in the sub-region.
Speaking on Tuesday in Niamey, Republic of Niger, Buhari said the necessary economic fundamentals among countries continue to differ over the years, making it more difficult to pull through with the project by 2020.
President’s spokesman, Femi Adesina in a statement on Tuesday said Buhari during the meeting advised ECOWAS community to take into consideration lessons currently unfolding in the European Union.
“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 monetary union, while neglecting fundamentals and other pertinent issues,’’ the statement read.
Buhari also notes that numerous obstacles confront realising a single currency in the sub-region. Some of them he highlighted to include diverse and uncertain macroeconomic fundamentals, unrealistic inflation and inconsistency with the African monetary co-operation programme.
He said domestic issues in ECOWAS member countries relating to their constitutions and dependence on aids continue to affect the framework for implementing the single currency in the sub-region.
He told the Heads of State that the conditions that pushed Nigeria into withdrawing from the process in the past had not changed.
Nigeria had earlier withdrawn from the process because its key questions and concerns were ignored and till date, none of the issues has come up as an agenda issue to be considered by the task force.
President Buhari, therefore, suggested a thorough review of the convergence roadmap and the constitution of expert committee subject areas to come up with an acceptable time frame, defined cost and funding sources identified.
The president of the ECOWAS commission, Marcel Alain De Souza, said the single currency for the West African sub-region was a laudable and historical project, but regretted that it had taken too long to be actualised.
Buhari also took to his verified Twitter handle @Mbuhari to explain some of there discussions about the regional single currency during the ECOWAS meeting in Niamey.