A member of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Economic Advisory Council (EAC), Mr. Bismarck Rewane, thursday cautioned the federal government against allowing itself to be stampeded into making precipitated decisions on joining ‘Eco,’ the proposed single currency for West African countries.
Rewane, during an interview yesterday on, ‘The Morning Show’ on Arise Television, a sister broadcast arm of THISDAY Newspapers, said the country was not yet ready for currency convertibility.
The federal government, while reacting to the adoption of Eco as the currency of the French bloc of the West African nations, said it was studying the situation and would respond in due course.
But Rewane, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Financial Derivatives Company Limited, said decisions about the economy, currency and regional integration were not issues any country should rush into.
He also noted that with its role as a giant in the continent, the federal government must always be strategic in its decisions.
According to Rewane, unless Nigeria’s economic condition improves, entering into the West African single currency arrangement means the country, which controls 66 per cent of the ECOWAS economy, would have to shoulder additional responsibility.
"Of what interest is it for us at this point in time to protect other countries? Nigeria has to concentrate on how to manage its own economy more efficiently before going into any arrangement that would see it shoulder external responsibilities because you are only as good as your economic strength.
"In the past, we took a position in Liberia and Sierra Leone, when they had crisis and we put in place ECOMOG and all of that.
"That time we had the resources, we had enough oxygen, so we could give oxygen to other countries, but now, we can’t afford that. We have to first of all make Nigeria great again, make the country reliable and as efficient as we can," he stated.
He, however, noted that the factors outside Nigeria’s control presently are more than the factors within its control.
For instance, he stated that the global momentum, economic momentum, oil markets, non-oil markets, are all driving domestic economic decisions."Therefore, you either have to be strategic or tactically responsive in good time," he said.Shedding some light on the history of single currency arrangement, the economist explained that the time between a Custom Union and a single currency took about 15 years, even in Europe, it took about 15 years. "There are regional convergence criteria and it comes with many […]