Liberia Takes over Chairmanship of Convergence Council of Ministers and Central Bank Governors of the West African Monetary Zone
MONROVIA – At the 45th Meeting of the Convergence Council of Ministers and Central Bank Governors of the WAMZ held on Friday, August 27 via Zoom, Liberia assumed the leadership of the Convergence Council of the WAMZ, taking over from Sierra Leone. The WAMZ comprises English speaking countries of West Africa plus Guinea, which, though being French-speaking, is not part of the eight francophone countries that make up the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA).
In accepting the chairmanship, Finance and Development Planning Minister, Samuel D. Tweah Jr, Minister Tweah proffered apologies for Liberia not being able to host the meeting physically due to the recent resurgence in the COVID-19, but expressed the country’s optimism in hosting under more favorable conditions. He urged Ministers and Governors of Central Banks in West Africa to continue the path of implementing prudent policy measures to reverse losses seen since the onset of COVID-19. He stressed that despite the negative impact of COVID-19, Liberia has shown marked economic resilience, with inflation trending downward to around 8 percent and domestic revenue reaching its highest nominal level since the end of war in 2003.
Minister Tweah observed that West African countries are expected to face price vulnerabilities due to global supply chain shocks on account of the persistence of the Delta variant of COVID-19, noting however, that prices are projected to normalize by mid middle of next year.
The Minister added that COVID-19 has impacted some of the Convergence indicators, such as central bank financing. He noted that although Liberia has not received a dime in central bank financing for two fiscal years now, it is said to have failed the Central Bank financing indicator because of COVID-19 related disbursement from the IMF that were on-lent to Government through the Central Bank of Liberia. The Minister argued that this should not be considered normal central bank financing.
Minister Tweah pledged the Government of Liberia’s commitment to support both Convergence and West African Monetary Union through the Eco.
After presentation of a technical report from the Governors Council, presented by CBL Governor Aloysius Tarlue, who also assumed the Chairmanship of the WAMZ Governors Committee, Ministers and Governors deliberated a number of observations and recommendations. Key among them was the Governors observation that IMF COVID-related and similar other such as the pending SDR reallocations should not be considered as central bank financing, agreeing to work toward having the WAMZ technical team revise the numbers and enforce the standard.
The meeting adjourned after adopting the report from the Governors Council and is expected to convene during the next scheduled Convergence Council meeting.