General News of Sunday, 27 April 2014

Source: Maxwell Okamafo Addo

Veep commends Rotarians

.... for partnering Government to improve the welfare of the people

Vice President, Kwesi Amissah Arthur has commended the Rotary Club for partnering Government to improve the welfare of the people, especially those living in deprived communities through water and sanitation, literacy and health related projects and especially the polio eradication campaign.

“Through your efforts and collaboration with stakeholders, Ghana was declared polio-free in 2013,” Vice President Amissah-Arthur said.

Vice President Amissah-Arthur made the statement when he addressed the first District Assembly and Conference for Rotary International District 9102, at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC).

The District 9102 comprises four countries namely Ghana, Togo, Benin and Niger, and it was created out of an original group of 14 countries in West African that had grown very big.

Touching on the intended January 2015 introduction of the ECO and the launch of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) he said it will only be feasible if all of the macroeconomic convergence criteria are met and the harmonization of all fiscal, financial and monetary policies are complete, V.

He explained that it is better to get all the macro-economic indices right before converging than rush into an unsustainable monetary integration that has the potential of deepening the macroeconomic woes of the Member States of the Economic Community of t West African States (ECOWAS).

“The ideal integration situation is where countries in the union share common monetary authority or central bank,” the Vice President, said, adding “otherwise, trying to operate a single currency without social economic and political integration is likely to face challenges greater than those experienced by the Euro Zone.”

“Monetary is not just a matter of economics. It is political in the sense that it involves fiscal discipline, trade policies, investment decisions and even security considerations.”

With reference to the creation of the Euro, Vice President Amissah-Arthur, observed that the ideal situation is where countries share common monetary and fiscal policies, a common pool of foreign exchange reserves, and a common currency authority or central bank.

He said the Euro Zone crisis has huge implications for the WAMZ since the envisaged closer economic integration in the sub-region is seen as an important strategy to expand markets and the trade of goods between member states.

“The common currency, the ECO, when introduced will undoubtedly enhance intra-regional trade by eliminating exchange rate volatility, reducing transaction costs and facilitating capital flows within the sub-region,” the Vice President said.

The Vice President pointed out that fiscal and monetary policies are not enough to ensure sustainability against weak co-ordination of economic policies; and hence the hence the formation of the West African Monetary Union is a challenge given the imbalances in individual national economic strengths of the WAMZ countries.

Nigeria alone, Vice President Amissah-Arthur said, prior to rebasing its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), constituted two thirds of the total GDP Of WAMZ.