Map of West Africa showing the 15 ECOWAS Member States

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) recently said Nigeria’s economic performance is crucial to adopting a proposed single common currency (Eco) in West Africa, because Nigeria represents more than 75 per cent of the GDP of the region. To some analysts, the Eco can expand Nigeria’s economic horizon across the region, even to the Francophone nations. Others believe it will boost regional corruption, and enhance cross-border looting and capital flight. To you, does Nigeria really need the Eco for her development process or not?

ABIMBOLA AKOSILE

* I believe it will augur well if ECOWAS introduces one currency; after all it is working in the European Union member-countries as they have their Euro.

Mrs. Ijeoma Nnorom, Lagos State

* For me, Nigeria does not need the Eco now because we have our teething problems to tackle, like poor leadership, corruption, insurgency, ethnicity, youth unemployment, and cattle herdsmen etc. Yes, it will boost regional corruption and enhance cross border looting and capital flight. Over 100 years after amalgamation and 57 years after independence, we have not been able to achieve even one of the five fundamentals of economic growth: 24-hour electricity, good road network, efficient transport system, adequate security throughout the land and low interest rates so that small scale businesses can thrive. Education, health and other sectors are in poor state. Let’s face and overcome these issues along with wiping out the monsters called poor leadership, corruption, ethnicity, youth unemployment and insurgency etc before we multiply our problems. Let’s forget the question of single common currency Eco in West Africa for now till further notice. God bless Nigeria.

Mr. Odey Ochicha, Abuja

* This ought to be a good initiative for the region. But when a society is driven by selfish interest, the abuse of the Eco is inevitable. It can be shelved for a more appropriate time in the future, not now.

Ms Nkeiruka Abanna, Lagos State

* The last meeting of leaders of the 15 ECOWAS member-nations held in Niamey, Niger Republic, failed to agree on a possible date for the introduction of a common currency for the region, while the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari warned on the need to tread with caution on the matter. However, Nigeria, being a leading member in the region, other members will look up to her for leadership and  the introduction of the single currency in the zone will promote our businesses, help us in export, and facilitate our economic growth within ECOWAS region. There is need for economic integration among ECOWAS countries, increase in purchasing power of the local currencies of the member states, introduction of strong monetary policies, regulation of exchange rates of all countries and the establishment of the West African Central Bank.

Mr. Michael Adedotun Oke Founder Michael Adedotun Oke Foundation, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja

* No; it will be near impossible, costly and counter-productive to enforce the use of one currency as a legal tender in such diverse and complex economies. Our borders are too weak to support such a (laudable) task. How do you ensure that it doesn’t look like unfair imposition especially when Nigeria’s economic growth rate improves geometrically, better than theirs? That will cause serious bad blood. Colonial masters’ interference, language barriers e.t.c all call for genuine concern. We must look very well before leaping as its reversal effects are better imagined.

Miss Apeji Patience Eneyeme, Badagry, Lagos State

* For me, presently, Nigeria doesn’t really need the Eco. What Nigeria truly needs presently is to keep its house in order. Politically, Nigeria is divided and this also applies regionally in terms of religion and ethnicity. Before we can have development we must throw away our differences and unite. There are those who feel they are superior while others are inferior; we must be united first as a yardstick for any development.

Hon. Babale Maiungwa, U/Romi, Kaduna

* On the Eco and Nigeria’s economic advancement, I think the positives surpass the negatives. Trade will jerk up as converting currencies before doing business region-wide will be laid to rest. Our economy should start bubbling the way Germany’s economy does in the Eurozone.

Mr. E. Iheanyi Chukwudi, B.A.R., Apo, Abuja

* The idea of a single regional currency in West Africa, though appealing, may not benefit Nigeria in the long run, because of the identified issues of corruption and cross-border capital flight across member nations. An Eco may encourage looting and this will be counter-productive to development. Let us even close our borders! Britain insisted on its currency the pound even as part of the EU; Nigeria, which contributes around 75 per cent of the region’s GDP, doesn’t really need the Eco for now; maybe much later when regional integration is better.

Mr. Olumuyiwa Olorunsomo, Lagos State

* Nigeria actually needs the Eco to expand her economic horizon across the region even to the Francophone nations, but cabals in the corridors of power will use the window to siphon our hard-earned money to boost regional economic corruption across borders. We need restructuring, so that the unity in diversity that exists does not fade away.

Mr. Dogo Stephen, Kaduna State

* No, Nigeria doesn’t need the Eco for our developmental process. Although we represent more than 75 per cent of the GDP of the region, common language barrier, security challenges, porous borders, external interferences, unemployment issues, money laundering, ethnicity, leadership challenges, unreliable human population data, real amount of money in circulation, timely budget approval and execution etc will make Eco accomplishment too complex and unrealistic.

Mr. Apeji Onesi, Lagos State

* Well, it is a welcome proposal that will promote oneness among the ECOWAS member nations. After all European nations have their own euro and it is working for them; why not us? Rules and regulations must be obeyed for sustainability of treaty on member nations having one currency. Any nation that violates the treaty should be sanctioned. It will promote trade and services among them. God bless Nigeria.

Mr. Gordon Chika Nnorom, Public Commentator, Umukabia, Abia State

* Regional integration and development of any sort in the west coast region of Africa is welcome and will certainly boost Nigeria’s development. However, the region does not seem to be stable enough for a single currency. With insurgency, terrorism and mercenary attacks, the region is not yet mature enough to risk embracing the single currency. Before Europe introduced the Euro, they had years of regional economic cooperation through trade, road and rail links, as well as joint technological and scientific projects. The restiveness and economic instability in the region is not fertile ground for single currency at this point in time.

Mr. Buga Dunj, Jos, Plateau State

THE RESPONSE

 

Yes, Nigeria needs the Eco: 4

No, Nigeria doesn’t need it: 7

Others: 1

Radical tip: Close our borders!

Total no of respondents: 12

Male: 9

Female: 3

Highest location: Lagos (5)

Next Week: Are State Governors Really Devt-friendly?

Nigeria’s development challenges involve low quality of basic education, high level of poverty and unemployment, poor road networks and basic infrastructure, and inadequate health services. Although many citizens blame the Federal Government mainly for these development lapses, most of the indicators fall under the jurisdiction of the state and local governments. To you, are the state governors really development-friendly, and can they actually improve on their current efforts?

Please make your response direct, short and simple, and state your full name, title, organisation, and location. Responses should be sent between today (January 25 & Monday, January 29) to abimbolayi@yahoo.com, greatbimbo@gmail.com, AND abimbola.akosile@thisdaylive.com. Respondents can also send a short text message to 08023117639 and/or 08188361766 and/or 08114495306. Collated responses will be published on Thursday, February 1