As West African countries continue to dilly-dally on the adoption of a common currency, a former diplomat has advised the Nigerian government to shun the Eco currency and pursue policies that would reflate the naira.
“Increased strengthening of the value of the naira is more important for Nigeria than dissipating energy on floating the Eco for member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
“Expanding the Nigerian economy is more important and should be non-negotiable because it is in the best interest of the sub-region for Nigeria to be the dominant economy,’’ scholar, Dr Nnamdi Onochie stated.
He was speaking in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday on the endless controversy of introducing the Eco as a monetary unit for countries in West Africa.
“It is of higher imperative that every effort should be made by Nigeria to continue to expand and grow its economy,’’ said Onochie, who is also a stalwart of the PDP party.
He accused the French government of continuing to thwart the effort to create a single currency for the ECOWAS region, saying that France views the Eco as being not in its strategic interest.
According to the analyst, the position of France on the issue has continued to serve the interest of some West African leaders, who do not wish ECOWAS and the African Union well.
Onochie argued that waiting for three additional years or more before the introduction of the Eco would not hurt the Nigerian economy in any way, noting that a stronger naira would serve the interest of Nigeria better.
Nigeria is Africa’s top economy and the nation is blessed with various minerals, including huge oil and gas reserves but managing the nation’s resources optimally has remained an issue, according to analysts.
The Eco was originally scheduled to be introduced in 2003 but the date was shifted to 2005 then to 2010 and later to 2014.
In 2009, a council of ministers meeting fixed the Eco commencement date to 2015 but the adoption of the currency failed to materialize yet again.