Nigeria is the only country to have met the four primary convergence criteria required for attaining the proposed single currency for the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), according to local media reports Wednesday.
The private Vanguard newspaper quoted Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Sarah Alade as saying the country met all the criteria set for achieving a common currency for the regional bloc, to be known as ‘eco’, in 2013.
“It is important to recall that the deadline for the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) countries to achieve monetary integration was set at January 1, 2015. Also, the modified revenue approach under the aegis of ECOWAS was approved by assembly of heads of states and government to replace the two-track approach to monetary integration in ECOWAS for January 1 2020,” Dr. Alade said.
According to her, the four primary criteria needed for the convergence, which Nigeria has met, include single-digit inflation rate at the end of each year and a fiscal deficit of not more than 4% of the Gross Domestic Productivity (GDP).
Others are a Central Bank deficit-financing of not 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.
She disclosed that Liberia and Sierra Leone have met three out of the four criteria, adding that there had been a consistent challenge of year-to-year compliance of the criteria by the member states.