The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission has called on member states to intensify efforts toward the setting up of a regional Payment and Settlement System, as a key component of an ECOWAS Common Investment Market (ECIM) and a necessary building-block for the establishment of an economic-union.
In an address to the Central Banks Payment Systems Experts’ meeting, which opened on Wednesday, in Dakar, Senegal, on the establishment of the EPSS, the Commissioner for Industry and Private Sector Promotion Mr. Kalilou Traore, said the “EPSS (ECOWAS Payment and Settlement System) programme is one of the roadmap activities for the realization of ECOWAS single currency, and in tandem with steps already taken by some Regional Economic Communities (RECs) across the African Continent.”
He listed the expected benefits from the EPSS to include guarantee of prompt payment to the exporter – at the latest by the next day that the importer deposits the required amount at its Commercial Bank within the member state; building of trust amongst traders that would lead to an increase in intra-regional trade and drastic reduction in the cost of intra-regional trade transactions and remittance.
Others are leveling of the playing field by getting all commercial banks to deal directly with one another without having to go through banks outside the region; predictability in payment timing and reduced payment cycle time as compared to other international payment alternatives; lower cost and quick turn-around of EPSS payments translates into savings for the importer; and easy process for making cross-border payments at retail and wholesale levels.
The report of the on-going meeting will be considered by a two-day WAMA experts meeting, which begins today, June 27, that will feed into the Central Banks Governors meeting next week, all in the Senegalese capital.