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Monetary union ratification by year-end

posted on 30/09/2009: 735 views

The four members of the Gulf Cooperation Council comprising Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar are expected to ratify the monetary union agreement by the end of this year, according to a top official.

Mohamad Al Mazroui, assistant secretary-general for economic affairs in the Gulf Cooperation Council, or GCC, said on Tuesday that the ratification of the treaty is fundamental for creation of the monetary council, a precursor to the proposed GCC Central Bank, which will be issuing the common currency.

"I expect that the four countries will ratify the treaty to form the monetary union before the year-end. But this is an expectation, and expectations can change any time,” Al Mazroui said during a Press briefing at the end of the 33rd round of the Council of Arab Central Bank Governors and Monetary Institutions in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

To a question of whether the remaining four countries would be able to meet the 2010 deadline set for the formation of common currency and monetary union, Al Mazroui said: "My answer is clear, this will be possible only after the states which are willing to participate in the common currency project ratify the treaty.”

Although all the six-member GCC countries have directly or indirectly pegged their currencies to the US dollar, the ambitious plan of forging together a Gulf single currency by 2010 received a blow earlier this year when the UAE, the region's second biggest economy, pulled out of the union sighting significant differences of opinions including the proposed location of the Central Bank and its independence. Another GCC member, Oman, dropped out of the union in 2006.

On Monday, speaking on the sidelines of the same conference, the Governor of the UAE Central Bank, Sultan bin Nasser Al Suwaidi, ruled out the possibility of the country rejoining the monetary union. However, Al Mazroui said the GCC will continue to make efforts to bring the UAE back into the union. "Such efforts will always be made,” he said. – Khaleej Times


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