The importance of the common currency for ECOWAS Member States has again been brought to bear as the solution to the funding challenges the Community currently grapples with.
While presenting the 2017 Budget performance to the ad-hoc Committee set up by Parliament to consider the 2018 draft budget, Kebbe Kouroma, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Finance disclosed that only 25 per cent of the amounts proposed in the 2017 document had been utilised, occasioning a partial or non-implementation of projects by Community Institutions in the last couple of years.
According to the Commissioner, many Member States defaulted in payment of the Community levies as stipulated in the ECOWAS Protocol.
The Community had proposed a total inflow of $267,943,663 but within the period under review, it realised only $110,074,534 out of which it disbursed $73,951,804.
The low payment of levies was attributed to among other things, the inability of Member States, especially the non-CFA countries to access foreign exchange.
Kouroma in his presentation explained that even when the levy is deposited in the Central Banks of Member States, they still were unable to pay due to lack of foreign exchange.
It is in view of this that he recommended that the ECOWAS common currency be implemented.
He further buttressed that if Member States operated a single currency, it would make collection and disbursement of funds for projects much easier.
He added that the Commission was however, considering other alternative sources of income beyond levies and contributions from international donors.