Expert cautions Nigeria against adopting Eco as single currency

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Mr Godwin Eohoi, a Financial Expert on Tuesday cautioned Nigeria against joining other Francophone countries to adopt Eco as their single currency.

Eohoi gave the warning while speaking with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

Eight West African countries had in December, 2019 agreed to change the name of their common currency to Eco, thereby effectively severing the CFA franc’s links to former colonial ruler France.

The countries include Benin republic, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.

This development was announced by the President of Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara during the visit by French President Emmanuel Macron to his country.

All the African countries that decided to adopt Eco are former French colonies, except Guinea-Bissau.

The countries had set four primary criteria to be achieved by each member country: that a single-digit inflation rate should be maintained at the end of each year.

“A fiscal deficit of no more than four per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) should be maintained.

“A central bank deficit-financing of no more than 10 per cent of the previous year’s tax revenues should be maintained.’’

The conditions have yet to be met before the countries decided to adopt Eco as their single currency.

Reacting to the development, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed said that the Federal Government was studying the change of West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) currency, Eco to be used as ECOWAS single currency.

Eohoi, also the Registrar, Institute of Finance and Control of Nigeria (IFCN), said the perceived involvement of France in the matter should be a concern to Nigeria.

He explained that all the countries that had adopted Eco as single currency were virtually colonised by Franc, hence the need for Nigeria to weigh the options before going into it.

“I am glad to know that Nigeria said it would study it before taking a decision, the country should not rush to grab this kind of thing without critical evaluation.

“The way the whole thing started and driven by ECOWAS was good but the way it is going now, Nigeria should not because of unity of African countries rush into it.

“Nigeria must weigh the options, I mean merits and demerits of this moves to the economy of the country,’’ he said.

The expert advised that the interest of the country as well as the benefits to its citizens should be paramount.

According to him, from the way things are going, it seems there are political undertones.

He said all these countries were targeting Nigeria’s market because of its huge population.

On not meeting the conditions of the single currency, Eohoi ssaid that if all the countries involved did not meet the requirements, the implementation would be null and void. (NAN)

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