Central Banks must maintain independence – Veep
The Vice-President, Mr Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, has challenged central banks in the West African sub-region to maintain their independence from political interference.
He said since the central banks were the bulwarks of rational decision, they must wean themselves from unnecessary political influence.
The Vice-President made the call when a delegation of the Committee of the Governors of the Central Banks in West Africa called on him at the Flagstaff House in Accra yesterday.
The delegation is in the country to attend the West Africa Monetary Zone (WAMZ) review meeting in Accra today.
On April 20, 2000, the Heads of State of six West African countries decided in Accra to establish a second monetary zone, to be known as WAMZ, by 2003 as part of the fast-track approach to integration.
The countries — The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone — signed the ‘Accra Declaration’ which defined the objectives of the zone, as well as an action plan and institutional arrangements, to ensure the speedy implementation of their decision.
It is envisaged that the zone will be merged with the CFA franc zone to form a single monetary zone in West Africa.
At the second summit of the Heads of State and Government of the zone held in Bamako, Mali, on December 15, 2000, a number of important documents relating to the institutional, administrative and legal framework for establishing the zone were adopted.
The date for the introduction of the common currency, originally set for January 1, 2003, was rescheduled in November 2002 for July 1, 2005 in order to give member states more time to fully comply with the convergence criteria.
Since then, and after several reviews over the years, there seems to be no headway with the convergence.
However, the Vice-President was optimistic this time round that there was a strong political will for the central banks to push through.
“There is now a lot of strong commitment on political authority to converge,” Mr Amissah-Arthur said.
On whether the date set aside to converge, 2015, would come true, he said the challenges that confronted members, particularly during elections, had been overcome, saying, “The onus now lies on them to converge.”
The outgoing Chairman of the committee, Mr Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, expressed delight that Mr Amissah-Arthur, who was the of the Bank of Ghana, had attained the high position of Vice-President, saying, “We are extremely happy that you are the Vice-President of Ghana.”
He commended Ghana for transforming its economy, adding, “We hope the economy will grow from strength to strength.”
The Director-General of the West Africa Monetary Institute (WAMI), Dr Abwaku Englama, said the results of the last quarter of this year had shown that “we are making progress”.
By Timothy Gobah/Daily Graphic/Ghana
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