A non- governmental organisation, United Global Resolve for Peace (UGRFP), has urged the ECOWAS Commission and Parliament to hold off plans to implement ECO as the common currency for West African states.
UGRFP, in a statement on Sunday in Abuja, said that as laudable as the proposal might sound, the appropriate framework for it had yet to be put in place.
The statement was signed by Mr Olaseni Shalom, UGRFP’s Executive Director .
Shalom said that the proponents of ECO, which was due to take off by 2020, had argued that it would build formidable structures to make the monetisation policy efficient.
He advised the ECOWAS Commission and the Parliament to rather commence modalities towards the creation of an anti-terrorism taskforce for the sub-region.
“While we laud the issues which the idea came to solve like double figures inflation rates, double taxation policies, uncertain and unpredictable exchange rates among others, we yet have reservations to it.
“In spite of the above, we propose that the organisation channels its resources towards machinery that will sustain the policy if and when implemented.
The NGO listed the issues to be tackled as:
“Regularisation of the exchange rates of all currencies serving as legal tenders in West Africa.
“Granting and implementing standard criteria for calculating GDP for member states from internally generated revenue;
“Increasing the purchasing power of local currencies of member states and establishment of the West African Central Bank.”
The executive director said that the ECOWAS Commission and Parliament should develop policies and laws to increase the economic capacity of the member states to individually compete in the global market.
He said that the organisation should render quality assistance to the member states to up internally generated revenue and increase their export leverage in the international market.
Shalom commended the commission on its swift response in the restoration of democracy in the Gambia, adding that such a brilliant initiative must be sustained if economic development is to be achieved.
He said that ECOWAS should adopt policies as well as treaties to gradually put an end to the idea of borrowing and taking loans from international financial organisations to service national budget.
“This will enable the member states to obtain an economic equilibrium, and tilt the exchange rate fluctuations.
“Setting up economic assistance schemes and technical forums to aid member states with smaller industrial capacity to cope and boost their economies for the sake of collective economic stability.
“Establishing a collective common purse to provide for extra funding for West African member states with low income generation to inspire them to greatness’’ he said.
Shalom said that terrorism was increasingly becoming a profitable endeavour for certain social miscreants in locations like Nigeria, Chad and Mali; hence it had become imperative for ECOWAS member nations to synergise against it.
He said that intelligence sharing among ECOWAS nations was key to combating the rising scourge of terrorism in the sub-region.
UGRFP promotes peaceful resolution of crisis generated as a result of human activity, civil unrest, agitations, conflict of interest among others, in line with UN Charter on Conflict Resolution.