Gulf monetary union 'on track'
Muscat, October 17, 2009
A top GCC official has said he was confident the four Gulf countries would have a monetary council - a step towards a single currency - in place by January.
Finance ministers and central bank governors from six GCC nations are meeting here to set the agenda for the rulers' summit in Kuwait next month, said a report in our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.
When asked if the monetary council would be in place by January 1, GCC secretary-general Abdulrahman Al Attiyah said: "Of course."
The project has been hampered by the UAE decision in May to opt out from the common currency, three years after a similar move by Oman.
Ratification by the four remaining countries is needed for the project to go ahead, but so far only Saudi Arabia has done so.
"Ratification is on the way," he said, adding he expected Qatar to ratify next week.
Al Attiyah also said GCC ministers are working to accelerate the region's economic integration.
He added issues covered would include a customs and monetary union, a common market, and a joint railway project.
The finance ministers will also discuss a proposal for a regional development bank similar to Europe's.
"They will discuss the Qatar vision of a mechanism for the proposal for an investment and development bank like you have in the EU," Al Attiyah said.
The bank would provide funding for regional projects and would also make donations outside of the GCC, Al Attiyah said. – TradeArabia News Service