ECOWAS projects 7.1% growth rate in 2014

By The Citizen

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is projecting an economic growth rate of 7.1 per cent in 2014.

The projection is contained in a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday by Mr Sunny Ugoh, the Assistant Director of Communications in ECOWAS.

The statement said the projection was higher than the 6.3 per cent growth rate in 2013 and 6.6 per cent in 2012.

A breakdown of the projection stated that Sierra Leone would record the highest growth rate of 14.6 per cent and Cape Verde with the lowest growth rate of 0.5 per cent.

“In addition, six member states, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone would post higher growth rates than the projected 6.3 per cent growth rate for ECOWAS.

“The sources of growth would be increased in gas production, oil and various minerals as well as improvement in agricultural production,'' the statement said.

It, however, pointed out that member states found it difficult to meet the convergence criteria in terms of macro economic convergence as enshrined in the ECOWAS Macroeconomic Stability and Convergence Pact.

The Convergence Council comprising of ECOWAS ministers of finance and governors of central banks adopted the ECOWAS Macro economic Convergence Report for 2012 on Sept. 6, 2013 in Abidjan.

The statement stressed the need to increase the rate of tax revenue-GDP ratio (tax yield) and control current expenditure in order to help reduce the budget deficit.

It also intended to ensure a continuous decline in the ratio of wage bill-tax revenue ratio and increase mobilisation of domestic resources for public investment.

“However, ECOWAS regional institutions such as West Africa Monetary Institute (WAMI) and ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development in collaboration with member states have intensified efforts to ensure macroeconomic stability.

“They are also to ensure effective harmonisation of economic and financial policies in the region,'' the statement added.

It said that presidents Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger and John Dramani of Ghana had been appointed to monitor the ECOWAS single currency programme.

According to the statement, their appointment was at the extraordinary session of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government held on Oct. 25, 2013 in Dakar.