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Finance Min. upbeat about GCC financial conditions
October 26, 2014, 8:52 am
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The strong financial conditions of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states have effectively contributed to boosting their economic capabilities in face of challenges and foreign jolts, especially the fallout of the recent global financial crisis, Minister of Finance Anas Al-Saleh said here on Saturday.

In a keynote speech at the joint meeting of the Financial and Economic Cooperation Committee at the level of GCC ministers of finance and economic and GCC Committee of Governors of Monetary Agencies and Central Banks, the minister expected average economic growth rate of the GCC member states to be 4.5 percent in 2014 and 2015.

But, he sounded the alarm about some risks and perils due to swift regional and international developments on crude price developments which affect the GCC countries' financial conditions, economic reform and public spending.

This would necessitate more concerted efforts to go ahead with comprehensive economic reforms by means of adopting adequate measures to redress some structural imbalances, the minister pointed out.

The GCC members' general economic structures are characterized by some distinctive features which make the financial policy the main source of the economic reform process, Al-Saleh added.

The minister stressed the significance of this meeting which came amid regional and international circumstances that impose more challenges and require an all-out strategy to confront relevant reflections and ramifications.

World governments and international financial institutions were impressed by some optimistic indications about global economic performance as conflicts and troubles took place in some regions and oil prices were consequently affected, he said.

This, as a matter of course, has affected future forecasts about the outlook of world economic growth whether at the national and regional level or at that of international financial institutions, he argued.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has tended to cut its world economic growth rates for 2014-15, thus brining direct and indirect impacts of world economic trends on the GCC countries which are an integral part of the global economic system, Al-Saleh added.

Such regional and international developments would surely require fresh parameters for the mechanisms of response to concomitant fallout and risks, he noted.

The Kuwaiti minister of finance pointed to the key role played by GCC monetary institutions and central banks in taking adequate measures to fight this crisis in a professional and efficient manner, together with their basic role in maintaining monetary stability.

However, the GCC countries' general financial conditions require more efforts to redress some imbalances that could be partially produced by some accumulations which are linked to the nature of Gulf economic structures or by regional and world developments, Al-Saleh opined.

He called for creating a developed social safety network and attaching more attention to the process of boosting capital spending in a way that could encourage the private sector to play more active economic role.

The Kuwaiti minister finally stressed the necessity of putting in place an all-out economic reform process, including financial reform, in redressing financial and general disequilibrium, diversifying income sources and reducing reliance on oil revenues. Kuwait on Friday hosted the 99th meeting of the GCC financial and economic cooperation committee and the 60th meeting of the Committee of Governors of Monetary Agencies and Central Banks in the GCC.

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