Official says currency union is closer than ever with the launch of monetary council
A decision by the heads of state of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) at their summit in Abu Dhabi early this month to push ahead with the customs union removes a major obstacle to the monetary union, said Abdul Rahman Al Ateyya, GCC secretary general.
In comments published by the Saudi Arabic language daily Aleqtisadiah, Ateyya said a single currency has become closer than ever with the launching of the GCC Monetary Council, which will pave the way for the GCC Central Bank.
"The launching of a single currency is now closer than ever after obstacles blocking this project have been removed, mainly those obstructing the implementation of the customs union," said Ateyya, a Qatari.
Ateyya described a single currency as the "peak of integration not only in the monetary field but on pan-GCC cooperation."
He said merger plans among nations usually face obstacles but stressed those within the GCC need to be tackled through "sacrifices and concessions."
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain, the other members of the GCC, decided to push ahead with the project by setting up a monetary council in early 2010. The four members say they will pursue plans to create a central bank.
Officials and analysts have described the UAE decision as a blow to the GCC monetary union since it is the second largest economy in the 29-year-old economic, political and defence alliance.
© Emirates 24|7 2010
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