Gulf currency may take 10 more years to implement

08 December 2009

Kuwaiti parliament questions emir over alleged fraud

The GCC’s planned single monetary union could take up to 10 years longer than expected to implement, Kuwait’s foreign minister said on 8 December.

Speaking after the Kuwaiti National Assembly, or parliament, voted to ratify the government’s decision to join the GCC single currency, Sheikh Mohammad Sabah al-Sabah said setting up the union would take up to ten more years. It was originally due to be launched in 2010.

Among the stumbling blocks for Kuwait will be the need to change the country’s constitution, which calls for a currency minted in the name of the Kuwaiti emir, according to Sheikh Mohammad. The government will need to pass a new law when the currency is eventually launched.

The monetary union suffered a major setback in May 2009 when the UAE pulled out. Oman decided not to participate in 2006. And with only four countries left, some analysts have speculated the union might not go ahead (MEED 22:5:09).

Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait need to ratify plans individually before adopting the single currency.

Political commentators said the approval of the government’s decision to join the single currency was a sign that Kuwait’s traditionally fractious parliament was able to work with the ruling cabinet.

Kuwait’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Nasser al-Ahmed al-Sabah faced parliamentary questions over alleged financial misconduct on 8 December as he tried to break a deadlock between the government and opposition MPs (MEED 8:12:09).

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