Member states of the West African Monetary Zone ((WAMZ), including Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, the Gambia and Guinea, are now considering year 2020 for the launch of their long-drawn Monetary Union as well as the adoption of a single currency, having yet again, obviously missed the January 1, 2015 for the project.
The shift of the launch date became imperative following a preparedness study commissioned by the 32nd meeting of the WAMZ Convergence Council which found that member states were yet to meet all the set convergence criteria for the establishment of a monetary union and the single currency- the Eco.
This is not the first time that the WAMZ would miss launch dates for the monetary union project. Since 2009, no two countries consistently satisfied all the four primary convergence criteria for two consecutive years.
In 2013, for instance, only Nigeria met all the four convergence criteria.
Liberia and Sierra Leone satisfied three each while Ghana, the Gambia and Guinea met only two criteria each.
Godwin Emefiele, governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), said on Wednesday the latest preparedness report may have informed the decision of the ECOWAS Heads of States and Governments to approve the Modified Gradualist Approach to monetary integration by 2020.
In a keynote address to the 31st meeting of the Committee of Governors of the WAMZ in Abuja, Emefiele confirmed that the January 1, 2015 launch date is again no longer likely since study showed that the performance of member states on the convergence scale relative to requirements for the establishment of a monetary union was still inadequate.
Emefiele, who chaired the meeting, also noted that member countries’ business cycle synchronisation in terms of real GDP, inflation, broad money and interest rates remained weak, while their level of institutional preparedness for the monetary union was still not sufficient.
This article first appeared in busindessdayonline.com