28 July 2017

West Africa: Liberia Expresses Commitment to Ecowas Monetary Policy

Photo: The Guardian
Naira.

Monrovia — The Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, Milton Weeks, says despite Liberia recorded a negative GDP growth in 2016 due to heightening macroeconomic instability, the country has progressed steadily in compliance with the protocols and discharge of its commitments under the ECOWAS Monetary Cooperation Program.

Giving a warm welcome statement at the start of the 3-day 31st Joint Ordinary Meeting of the Technical Committees of the West African Monetary Agency (WAMA), Governor Weeks said Liberia is also on the path of aligning the fiscal calendar, which currently runs from July-June, to be in conformity with other member States.

WAMA is an autonomous and specialized agency of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

It was established in 1996 as a result of the transformation of the West African Clearing House (WACH).

"Our payment systems have undergone significant improvement in recent years," he disclosed.

"With the establishment of a Liquidity Working Group (LWG) that comprises of staff of the fiscal authority and the Bank, the Central Bank of Liberia also intends to streamline its monetary policy by establishing a monetary policy committee as soon as possible".

Also speaking, the Director General of WAMA Momodou B. Saho said their meeting in Liberia is against the backdrop of a slowdown in the growth momentum in the region.

Giving the deteriorating performance on the macroeconomic convergence front, Saho cautioned member states to strengthen and maintain macroeconomic stability and put emphasis on economic diversification.

He added that countries should improve their business climate in order to unleash the tremendous potential of the West African region in order to achieve the objective of the monetary cooperation program.

"Our broad policy messages for these meetings that countries impacted upon by commodity price declines need to move faster to implement reforms that will stem the decline in revenues and external reserves and reduce exchange rate volatility", Saho said.

According to him, countries in the West African region that are still experiencing robust growth and low inflation need to use the opportunity to address emerging vulnerabilities related to widening deficit and higher public debt from a position of relative strength.

He added that since their last meeting in Freetown in February of this year, WAMA has worked to implement the directives of its committee of Governors and the activities outlined in the working plan.

For his part, the Chairman of the WAMA Technical Committee, Moses Tule, said despite the difficult international environment, the commitment of the West African heads of states and governments in relation to the objective of the ECOWAS monetary cooperation program has not wavered.

"This was demonstrated by the setting up of the Presidential task force on the single currency, endorsement of the rationalization convergence criteria and revision of the roadmap activities."

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