Monetary Zone: Council Urges Compliance with Criteria

Lagos- Nigeria (PANA) -- The Convergence Council for the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) has called for stricter compliance with the convergence criteria to enable the zone take off by the target date of January 2003.
An ECOWAS statement this weekend said the call was directed at the five countries under the zone - Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
The four primary convergence criteria required of the countries include attainment of a single digit inflation rate by 2000 and reducing it down to five per cent by 2003, a ceiling of Central Bank financing of budget deficits to 10 per cent of previous year's tax revenue by 2000, and a floor on foreign exchange reserves of at least three months of imports by 2000 and six months by 2003.
The fourth criterion is a restriction of the budget deficit/GDP ratio to no more than five per cent by 2000 and four per cent by 2002.
The Convergence Council is composed of the minister of Foreign Affairs, Finance, Trade, Integration and the Governors of Central Banks of the five states which signed the WAMI agreement.
In a report presented to the council (which met 26 July in Abudja), WAMI Director-General Michael Ojo expressed optimism about the feasibility of the January 2003 date.
WAMI, a transitional body set up to prepare for the establishment of the Common Central Bank, adjudged the overall performance of the five member states as average.
Nigeria and the Gambia have met all the criteria.

28 july 2001 15:30:00

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