President John Dramani Mahama has pledged to lead the process towards the attainment of a common monetary convergence in Ghana and other Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) by 2015.
He has also promised to support efforts at achieving a common currency in the sub- region by 2020. The President made the pledge when Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, Chairman of ECOWAS and other Commissioners of the ECOWAS Commission, called on him at the Flagstaff House, Kanda.
Also present at the meeting were Vice-President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, the Chief of Staff, Prosper Douglas Bani, Seth Terkper, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, and Hannah Tetteh, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration.
The ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State at its last Extraordinary Session in Dakar, Senegal, in October, 2013, selected President Mahama and the President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, to monitor and supervise the implementation of the monetary corporation project towards the attainment of the monetary convergence by 2015, and a common currency by 2020.
The four criteria for the attainment of the monetary convergence are the reduction in the rate of inflation, achieving minimal budget deficit, a significant financing of the economy by the Central Bank, and a Foreign Exchange Reserve of up to six months.
President Mahama said the attainment of a common currency in West Africa would facilitate business transactions among the people of the various countries in the sub-region, while the monetary convergence would enable the sub-region to negotiate with other continental groupings as a bloc, instead of being separate countries.
He mentioned that the on-going public financial management reforms in Ghana would position Ghana to consolidate the inflation target that it has achieved, and move the country ahead to achieve the other targets on reducing budget deficit, a significant financing of the economy the Central Bank and Foreign Exchange Reserve of up to six months by 2015.
According to him, by 2011, Ghana had achieved almost all of the four targets, but slacked in the process due mainly to some economic pressures, and indicated that the on-going reforms would prevent the reversal.
Vice-President Amissah-Arthur stressed the need for all member countries to demonstrate political will towards the attainment of the monetary convergence and the common currency.
Mr Ouedraogo expressed confidence in the ability of President Mahama to use his diplomatic skills to lead the monetary co-operation project towards the attainment of the monetary convergence and the common currency among ECOWAS by 2020.
He said the ECOWAS Commission had prepared a memorandum and wanted President Mahama to review it and offer his advice on the way forward for the realization of the single monetary zone by 2020.
Mr Ouedraogo explained that the first step was for the member-countries to achieve monetary convergence by 2015 to prepare the way for the attainment of the common currency by 2020.
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