GCC to endorse monetary union
deal at November summit
Dubai: The six Gulf
Cooperation Council (GCC) countries will endorse at their November summit in Muscat the
proposed monetary union agreement and announce the setting up of a monetary council in a
prelude to creating a GCC central bank.
Abdul Rahman Al Attiyah said the new council will then announce further details such as
when a common currency would be launched.
"Next summit in
Muscat will endorse the agreement and the setting up of the monetary council," Al
Attiyah told Gulf News in an exclusive interview.
Central bank governors and
monetary authorities of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have
discussed the issue and referred it to the meeting of the GCC finance ministers in Jeddah
on September 17.
"As for the timetable
[to launch the monetary union], it will be drawn once the monetary council is announced
and its organisational structure and bylaws are finalised," Al Attiyah said.
Setting up of the monetary
council is one step before establishing a GCC central bank. Once it is approved in Muscat,
it will be a big step towards achieving the GCC monetary union, which the member countries
aim to achieve in 2010.
Some experts have doubted
whether that deadline can be achieved because the member countries are yet to agree on
several details, including the central bank's location, the proposed currency's name and
whether the unit should be pegged to the US dollar or a basket of major currencies.
UAE Central Bank governor
Sultan Bin Nasser Al Suwaidi said recently the monetary union could be launched on time
but in stages.
As for the implementation
of the Gulf Customs Union, for which the countries have set 2009 as the target date, Al
Attiyah said the remaining two issues that need to be settled are the customs protection
and joint collection. These are expected to be resolved by 2008-end. (gulfnews, 9.08.2008, Jumana Al Tamimi, Associate Editor)