RIYADH – Saudi Arabia is proceeding with its plan for the GCC monetary union expected to be implemented in 2010, Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) Dr. Mohammad Bin Sulaiman Al-Jasser said here Wednesday.
His remarks came during a meeting at the gathering of businessmen in the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The central bank governor highlighted the success of the Saudi monetary policy, saying the Saudi economy’s most prominent goal is to decrease dependence on oil as a main income resource.
He added that the Kingdom succeeded in lowering the percentage of the public debt from 100% in 1999 to less than 15% at the present time.
Al-Jasser said the financial reserves of the Kingdom were still high and stressed that SAMA’s investments abroad have not been affected by the global financial crisis.
He rejected the idea of ending the peg of the Saudi riyal to the US dollar saying the peg serves the Kingdom well.
The GCC currency union plans were dealt a blow when the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced last week it was withdrawing from the plan, without an explanation.
“I don’t believe that the withdrawal will affect it (monetary union) because there are still four countries that are excited about it,” Al-Jasser said at the meeting.
Oman had said it would not participate in the plan for the time being. But the other GCC members – Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia – continued to back the single-currency proposal.
King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Tuesday told the Kuwaiti “Al-Siyasa” newspaper: “We trust that the Emirates will not fall behind in participating in any move to consolidate and strengthen our countries.” “We might disagree on certain issues but these disagreements always dissipate at GCC summits or bilateral meetings,” the King said.