February 7, 2017 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Development Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has been duly elected to Chair the Technical Committee of the West African Monetary Zone for the next six months.
John Sumaila was elected yesterday during the opening session of the fortieth meeting of the Technical Committee of West African Monetary Zone, hosted at the Bintumani International Conference Centre in Freetown.
The Technical Committee meeting is part of the statutory meetings of WAMZ, which include the 40th Meeting of the Technical Committee, 34th Meeting of the Committee of Governors, and 37th Meeting of the Convergence Council.
The overall objective of WAMZ is to establish a Common Central Bank and introduce a single currency to achieve integration and rapid socio-economic development within the Zone through harmonised and sound fiscal and monetary policies.
“My election as Chairman of WAMZ Technical Committee is very good for Sierra Leone to steer the WAMZ project forward. They are now looking up to us to guide the way on things happening in the sub-region,” he said.
He informed delegates that since the WAMZ Project commenced, it has always been the desire by Member States to achieve its desired goal, adding that Sierra Leone was at the peak of meeting the set criteria for the West Africa Single Currency set for 2020, when the country’s effort was hampered by the Ebola outbreak.
According to him, the country was currently implementing the post-Ebola priorities initiative, which would help in addressing the many challenges in the country’s economy and pledged the country’s commitment in implementing reforms that promote growth in the ECOWAS.
“Sierra Leone is hopeful for 6.1% of economic growth and a single digit on inflation by 2018. The country is also hoping to meet the required convergence criteria for the single currency, which will come into full operation by 2020,” Mr. Sumaila added.
A Representative from the ECOWAS Commission, Lassane Kabore, said despite the numerous challenges faced by member states, there was prospect for economic growth.
“Our region remains a very good reference of economic growth despite challenges in 2016. It is essential for member states to implement budgetary policies that are prudent and also continue to promote economic diversification to meet the single inflation digit criteria,” he said.
While maintaining that the commission was a key actor for integration, Mr. Kabore assured that they would continue to monitor activities for the economic benefit of member states.
Also, Director General of the West Africa Monetary Institute (WAMI), Dr. Abwaku Englama, encouraged member states to ensure economic reforms were put in place for development.