Home Business Regulatory requirements delay common currency in West Africa – banker

Regulatory requirements delay common currency in West Africa – banker

by Business News Report

A banker, Mr Olasunkanmi Olowohas linked the delay in the commencement of West African single currency, `Eco”, to the inability of the countries to agree on regulatory requirements. Olowo, the Head of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Department in Ecobank, said this at the ongoing third Borderless Alliance conference in Lagos.

The theme of the conference is “Borderless 2014: Enabling Growth”.

Olowo said that the West African Central Banks kept postponing its commencement due to lack of agreed regulatory requirements among banks in the sub-region. He also said that lack of unified regulatory requirements had been hindering the development of SMEs in the sub- region as well.

Olowo said that banks in the sub-region had, however, ensured that there were technical measures to ensure effective trading in spite the absence of common currency. He said that technically all the banks within the sub-region had same platform which made customers to have access to their accounts by debit cards.

Olowo said that 10,000 dollars was the limit a customer could transfer within the sub-region which many said was too low. He said that the complaint was that the amount was not enough for SME operators in the sub-region. Olowo also said that regulatory requirements needed to be harmonised in order to ensure smooth international trade.

He said that another challenge was the double digit interest rates being charged by banks within the sub-region.

Olowo cited Nigeria as example of a country that was charging double digit interest rates due the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), a benchmark rate standing at 12 per cent. 

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