The National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) has called on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Heads of State and Government to address the issues of trade barriers and corruption at the borders before moving for the single currency adoption, ECO.
In a letter signed by the President of the group, Ken Ukaoha, the group stated that for the monetary union to be beneficial to the sub-region, the issues that exist in regional trade such as smuggling and border closure must be addressed.
As a people faced with the dreadful acts and infractions that hinder smooth trading among countries in the region, the group stressed that it was important for countries to come up with practical solutions to tackle the challenges.
It said, “We urge ECOWAS member states and relevant authorities to devote more time, resources and political will to the removal of impediments to regional trade while discussions are ongoing for a credible monetary union that is founded on the strong and predictable regional trade.
“This is the only way that the benefits of a monetary union will trickle down to the citizens located even at the lowest ebb of the ladder. We further urge member states to equally consider devoting more time to the demanding issues around an implementable and transparent Common External Tariff which is indispensable but has been on the table receiving less attention.
“More so, while taking decisions towards a single currency within the monetary union, the region must be prepared to look far into the future and programme herself with effective currency and trade buffer.”
Nigeria recently rejected the use of ‘Eco’ as the region’s single currency alongside five other West African countries. Nairametrics reported that the rejection, which is a pointer to the division among members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), might result in a faceoff with the Francophone countries of ECOWAS, which have unilaterally adopted the currency by renaming the CFA Franc.
Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have joined Nigeria to speak against the sudden decision by Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo to adopt Eco in 2020. The move, which began 30 years ago, has been experiencing a delay due to the failure of the countries to reach a consensus.