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Ken Ofori-Atta Opens ECOWAS Finance Ministers Meeting

Ken Ofori-Atta Opens ECOWAS Finance Ministers Meeting

Accra, February 19, 2018 - Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister for Finance today made an urgent appeal to his colleague Ministers and Governors of Central Banks in ECOWAS to work together to ensure that the required financial, human, and material resources are in place for the establishment of a single currency in the ECOWAS region by 2020.

“With a common currency we will be able create synergies that lead to interactions between our local sectors while cementing integration. Time is of the essence … there are a lot of decisions that have to be taken now and quickly if we have to meet the agreed timeline”.

He enumerated some of the decisions they have to quickly take to include; the choice of exchange rate regime; the design of regional institutions and formal division of powers between national and regional institutions; and the establishment of regional surveillance mechanisms.

Ken Ofori-Atta said this when he opened the 2nd Ministerial Meeting of the Presidential Task Force on ECOWAS Single Currency in Accra today. This meeting is a precedes the 5th ECOWAS Presidential Task Force Meeting on the Single Currency Programme to be held on 21st February, 2018 at the Accra International Conference Centre.

Today’s meeting is a follow up to an ECOWAS Summit held in Niamey Niger, in October last year during which a Presidential Taskforce set up to oversee this programme, tasked the Finance Ministers and Governors to hold this meeting within three months to adopt a new road map to accelerate the implementation of the single currency in the region.

In attendance were Finance Ministers, Governors and Technical officers from ECOWAS who are expected to take a critical look at this new roadmap, examine the activities and associated costs, as well as the timelines for their feasibility and to make recommendations to the Presidential Task Force for their consideration.  

The Ghanaian Finance Minister noted that a sound and sustainable currency union required among other things, strong rules to avoid fiscal indiscipline; fiscal transparency; independent regional central bank and strong banking supervision to safeguard the stability of the financial sector to support the union.

Ken Ofori-Atta said notwithstanding the economic challenges, such as high public debt and fiscal deficits, the prospect for this programme was good as economic activity in the region was improving and most of the large economies were experiencing economic rebound.

In addition, he stated that the Ministers and Governors had strong support from the political leadership for this programme to succeed. “…Currency unions need strong and unwavering political support. We have that support. It is now our duty to translate this support into workable frameworks that can deliver a currency union to back the new Africa”, he emphasized.

To this end, he reiterated Ghana’s commitment to the single currency programme and urged others to remain committed to the goal.

The President of the ECOWAS Commission, H E Marcel de Souza in his opening remarks challenged the delegates to come out with innovative ways to raise the required funding for the implementation of the programme. END