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Crisis should not derail monetary union

The governor of the central bank of Bahrain said moves to establish a Gulf monetary union should not be delayed by the financial crisis.

The governor of the central bank of Bahrain said moves to establish a Gulf monetary union should not be delayed by the financial crisis. "We hope all efforts are made to implement the monetary union, given the financial crisis, and underline the importance of the monetary union for the GCC, since it represents economic integration and economic diversification for the region," Rasheed al Maraj said today at the GCC Banking Conference in Manama. "We believe the monetary union is very important to our future."

In December, GCC heads of state met in Muscat to discuss the union, and reiterated their commitment to establishing a common currency by Jan 1 2010, despite rising doubts among analysts that the deadline is still feasible. "The current situation of the GCC countries economies prompts us to work quickly to issue the unified currency," said Nasser al Kaud, the deputy of the assistant secretariat general for economics affairs at the GCC.

Mr al Kaud said there are several technical committees working to overcome any logistical challenges that could stand in the way of establishing a monetary union. "The countries of the GCC have paid special attention to dealing with this crisis and limiting its impact," Mr al Kaud said. "The central bank governors have been instructed to increase their consultations and to take the necessary measures to strengthen and bolster the economy of the GCC, against this crisis, and to continue to with spending's and allocations to improve economic growth."

tpantin@thenational.ae

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