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ECOWAS: Single currency regime not kicking off in 2020  

The single currency regime for West Africa Countries might not kick off next year as expected because many countries are yet to meet the criteria.

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The single currency regime for West Africa Countries might not kick off next year as expected because many countries are yet to meet the criteria for the monetary alliance.

According to Punch, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, while speaking at the opening session of a meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) committee of ministers of finance and governors of central banks on the currency programme, disclosed that only Togo had met all the convergence criteria.

The leaders, with the aim of boosting cross-border trade and economic development, birthed the idea of a single currency for West Africa 30 years ago. They had formally agreed to name the common currency “Eco”. The member-countries of ECOWAS are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

ECOWAS: Single currency regime not kicking off in 2020  

ECOWAS

Criteria for the single currency to be achieved: The ECOWAS had put up three primary and three secondary criteria that each country must achieve to be included in the monetary union. The primary criteria include:

  • a budget deficit of not more than 3%;
  • average annual inflation of less than 10% with a long-term goal of not more than 5%; and
  • gross reserves that could finance at least three months of imports.

The secondary criteria put up by ECOWAS include:

  • public debt/Gross Domestic Product of not more than 70%;
  • central bank financing of budget deficit should not be more than 10% of previous year’s tax revenue; and
  • nominal exchange rate variation of plus or minus 10%.

Meanwhile, Mrs Ahmed disclosed that with only Togo meeting the criteria in the last two years, it would be difficult to operationalise the single-currency regime by next year. She added that the inability of other countries in the sub-region to achieve the criteria would make the operationalisation of the “Eco” currency in 2020 problematic.

We need to address in an optimal way the challenges ahead of us. This meeting is important because we are at a crossroads. The recommendations we make will have significant implications on the monetary policies we undertake,” said Ahmed.

The single currency regime is expected to be based on a flexible exchange rate regime, with inflation focused monetary policy framework.

SSKOHN

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    N1m up for grabs with Quickteller Business contest

    To join in the contest, entrepreneurs are to post a 1-minute video of themselves explaining how N1 million will boost their businesses.

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    Interswitch has announced a virtual pitch tagged ‘Boost your business with Quickteller’ where one business owner has the opportunity to win N1 million cash. The promo is believed will help businesses signed onto the Quickteller Business platform boost their business further.

    To contest for the prize money, business owners are simply required to complete their account activation on Quickteller Business and they stand a chance of winning.

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    They must register and activate their businesses on the Quickteller Business platform using the referral code ‘Boost’. Any entry without a referral code will be rendered invalid.

    Speaking about the promo, Cherry Eromosele, Group Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Interswitch noted that the promo is important to Interswitch as it helps business owners – not only to boost their businesses – but to provide solutions that addresses some of the pain points of business owners. “At Interswitch, we are committed to growing the business community by providing simple and scalable payment solutions because it is critical to their growth and essentially to the national economy at large,” she added.

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    The top 10 entries with the highest votes by 11:59pm on Friday, April 30, 2021 will qualify to participate in the grand finale.

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    FG launches National Gender Steering Committee for Gender Policy in the agricultural sector

    The policy document is a developmental strategy for poverty reduction and it is expected to empower small scale holder farmers who are predominately women.

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    FG moves to reduce gender inequality in agriculture, De-risking the agricultural sector
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    The Federal Government has announced its inauguration of a National Gender Steering Committee for the Implementation of the Gender Policy in the Agricultural sector, in a bid to offer equal access and gender-sensitive approaches towards food production.

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    “The initiative will promote and ensure the adoption of gender-sensitive responsive approaches, plans and programmes in such a way that men and women will have equal access and control of productive resources,” he said.

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    • Female unemployment rate in Nigeria as of Q4 2020 increased to 35.2% from 31.6% recorded in Q2 2020. This is according to the recent labour force report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
    • A total of 61.63 million women were in the working population (15 – 64 years of age) as of Q4 2020 accounting for 50.5% of the total working population. Only 30.15 million of these women were willing and able to work, which represents about 43.3% of the total labour force in the period under review.

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