From Linus Aleke, Sierra Leone
The President of Sierra Leone Dr. Julius Maada Bio Leone has said that his country remains fully committed to the aspirations of the ECOWAS Single Currency Programme.
He also promised to implement prudent economic policies to satisfy and meet the convergence criteria.
“Sierra Leone also notes the continued progress made in the implementation of regional integration commitments and policy harmonization programmes within the framework of the ECOWAS Single Currency Programme,” the President said.
Dr. Maada Bio expressed this commitment at the just conclueded First Extraordinary Session of ECOWAS Parliament.
He pointed out some of the policies being implemented to actualize the single currency objective to include, the implementation of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme, the ECOWAS Common External Tariff, payments systems infrastructure development, and harmonization of statistics and policy issues.
“I strongly urge us all Honourable Members and ECOWAS citizens to cooperate towards these attainable goals in the near future.
“We should also be mindful of the looming youth crisis and therefore intentionally invest in human capital development (quality education and skills development, affordable and quality healthcare, and food security).
“The impact of those investments, to my mind, are that our youth can compete favourably in the global knowledge economy, deploy technology and innovation, promote entrepreneurship, create inclusive employment opportunities, and therefore unleash the vast youth potential in the West African sub-region,” he counseled.
He urged the regional parliamentarians to fully support initiatives and policies that further these objectives.
He explained, “As a community, we must craft a focused strategy for the future of our sub-region.
“We collectively aspire in ECOWAS Vision 2050 “to create a borderless, peaceful, prosperous and cohesive region, built on good governance, and where people have the capacity to access and harness its enormous resources through the creation of opportunities for sustainable development and environmental preservation.
“This eminent Parliament has a role in the articulation and realisation of that vision and it must demonstrate its commitment at every stage of the vision’s formulation and operationalisation.
“We must make our countries in the region prime destinations for investment. We can do so by adopting practices, policies, and regulations (including taxation) that are uniform and even across borders.
“We should harness greater regional economic integration and more market linkages in the entire sub-region”.
He concluded by entreating all of member states to continue working hard toward the attainment of the community’s shared future.