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12.01.2005 Business & Finance

ECOWAS Central Bank governors meeting ends

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Accra, Jan. 12, GNA - The 15th Ordinary Meeting of the Committee of Governors of the ECOWAS Central Bank, took place in Accra on Wednesday, with a call on member States to strive for viable and productive economies that could compete and withstand the shocks of the global economy.

Dr Paul A. Acquah, Governor, Bank of Ghana, who made the call in an address at the opening ceremony, said it was important for the economic space of ECOWAS to be made resilient to macroeconomic pressures, whether permanent or temporary shocks, or through the foreign exchange market and the commodity market.

He said in spite of the difficulties posed by the international economic environment, some member countries had made strenuous efforts to achieve the requisite macro economic stability.

Dr Acquah said: "Although Fiscal deficits are coming down with inflation rates declining with greater stability in exchange rates, we should strengthen the credibility of the commitment to price stability and fiscal discipline that go along with it".

The meeting, which was one of the preparatory forums preceding the ECOWAS Summit of Heads of States and Governors, was aimed at discussing ways to transform ECOWAS into a single currency union with member states becoming vibrant and economically strong and stable entities. Participants discussed issues relating to administration, budgeting and economic planning.

Dr Acquah said ECOWAS member countries must accelerate their efforts towards economic and monetary integration, which had been a major challenge to the region.

The Governor noted that with a solid monetary union, member countries stood to benefit immensely since it imposed discipline on policies and economic behaviour and reduction in transaction costs.

"It also serves as the condition to achieving macroeconomic stability, low fiscal deficits and sustainable public debt burdens and free the private sector to function in efficient markets". The Governor stressed on the need for a review of the progress that had been made in the integration process in the area of policy coordination and macroeconomic convergence.

"This will be done in the best spirit of multilateral surveillance mechanism to ensure the formulation of concrete steps that would be needed to move the convergence process irreversibly."

Dr. Acquah said trade policies, tariffs, and financial market reforms, and payment of infrastructure and settlement systems must be harmonized.

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