By Tabora Bojang
The Central Bank of The Gambia hosted a high-level dialogue of an experts committee on the harmonization of the regulatory and supervisory framework of the banking and finance institutions in the Ecowas region at a local hotel in Kololi.
Organized in partnership with the West African Monetary Agency WAMA, the workshop is envisaged to provide opportunities to practitioners in the banking and microfinance sectors of the Ecowas region to harmonize their existing regulatory and supervisory frameworks in preparation for the adaptation of a single currency the Eco.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, West Africa Monetary Institute WAMI director general Dr. Olorunsola E Olowofeso expressed profound gratitude to WAMA and its partners for supporting the safe financial system in Ecowas.
Dr Olorunsola, reiterated that his institution will continue to collaborate with other relevant institutions to create the appropriate regulatory environment.
“It is my fervent belief that your deliberations in the days ahead would reveal the different levels and stages of implementations of International Standards of Member Countries and would provide regulatory options to strengthen the financial system of ECOWAS. I urge you all to remain committed and support the activities of this Expert Committee for the good of all,” he added.
The director general of the West Africa Monetary Agency WAMA Momodou Bamba Saho said the differences in regulatory frameworks between the different monetary zones of the continent potentially hinders cross-border businesses and other economic activities as it impacts the enabling environment for capital flows and payments across economies in the region.
Saho a former Central Bank of The Gambia governor, called for a “harmonized ECOWAS bank and microfinance supervision and regulation regime to reduce the regulatory and cost burden on financial institutions associated with compliance with multiple regulatory regimes and also contribute to improving the monetary policy transmission mechanism and reduce fragmentation of the financial system.
“For the effective conduct of this program, it would be necessary to involve the key stakeholders like WAMI and the Member Central Banks, who have extensive knowledge of financial system developments, regulation, and supervision in their various jurisdictions. “It is within this framework that this workshop is being organized, the objective of which is to allow the experts to examine the existing regulatory and supervisory frameworks for bank and microfinance institutions in the ECOWAS Members States and/or Zones and the internationally accepted standards governing the regulation and supervision of such institutions,” he said.
CBG governor Buah Saidy, posited that the disparities of regulation within the region have hindered cross border trade, hence the need for harmonization to provide a common platform that would reduce systemic risks within the region, to strengthen the financial systems and to increase the stability of the banking system.
“I encourage you to demonstrate a spirit of consensus, humility, and determination so that your work leads to results that make banking and microfinance institutions in the sub-region more resilient, but above all that protect consumers and contribute to the harmonious financing of the economies,” the governor urged participants.