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Economy & Investments | Apr 6, 2004

Common Currency Will Open Up Sub-Region Economies

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The introduction of the “ECO” as a common currency for Ghana, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Guinea and The Gambia will open up the economies of member states to increase trade and commerce.

It will also serve as the key to a larger regional and integrated market and investment to make member countries prosperous.The national co-ordinator of the sensitisation committee for the introduction of the ECO, Dr Lanto Harding, said this when he addressed a public forum at Aflao at the weekend.

The forum was jointly organised by the Ministry of Regional Co-operation and NEPAD and the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) for bank officials, forex bureau operators, clearing agents, immigration officers, personnel from the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), traders and traditional authorities.

Dr Harding said the ECO currency would be flexible and market based, adding that its introduction would circulate side by side with indigenous currencies of member countries until they were phased out.He disclosed that the West African Central Bank , which would serve the West Africa Monetary Zone (WAMZ), would be opened in Accra in July next year after which the currency would come into circulation.

He said the currency was expected to derive its strength from prudent financial management from member countries stating that the fall in the interest rate on treasury bills in Ghana was a demonstration of less borrowing by the government.He, therefore, said member countries were expected to strictly observe the four primary convergence criteria, which include

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