Niamey: The President of the Republic of Niger, Issoufou Mahamadu has called for concerted efforts by the ECOWAS community to tackle the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), which has posed a threat to the economic space of the community.
He was speaking at the inauguration of the 5th Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Niamey, Niger.
The Nigerien President who is worried about the mounting challenges the sub-region is battling especially insecurity, called on member countries to close ranks to defeat the evil.
He charged the newly inaugurated Parliamentarians to encourage their states to put necessary measures in place to achieve the ambition of the single currency while defending democracy.
Meanwhile, President Issoufou has called on the fifth legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament to encourage their various state governments to adopt macro economic policies that would make it possible to achieve the convergence criteria for the adoption of the Eco currency for the region.
Speaking at the inauguration of the fifth parliament in Niamey, Niger, the President described the adoption of a single currency as a major project of the community.
The West African monetary institution had spelt out ten convergence criteria to be met by each member state for the implementation of a single currency tagged ECO, which was finally agreed by the Heads of States and government of the regional body to be introduced by the year 2020.
Some of the primary criteria for each member state to achieve include; Achieving a single digit inflation rate at the end of each year for at least three years; A fiscal deficit of no more than four percent of the GDP; A central bank deficit financing of not more than 10 percent of the previous year’s tax revenues; and Gross external reserves that can give import cover for a minimum of three months.
According to President Issoufou, his country, Niger has achieved all the criteria and is ready for the launch of the currency this year.
“Our people want this single currency because it helps their interest in particular to support the growth of the economy of our state, supporting inter-ECOWAS commerce and trade that will grow the promotion of roads, infrastructure, railways, power and so many other projects that will make it possible for our region to contribute to the 2053 agenda and especially the continental free trade area”.
He stressed that both the national and ECOWAS parliaments have a role to play in the realization of the projects that would transform not only ECOWAS region but the continent as a whole.