Under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, HE Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of State for Financial Affairs, inaugurated the ‘Best International Practices in Public Debt Management Strategies’ conference at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi. HE Younis Haji Al Khoori, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and a number of MoF Assistant Undersecretaries were present at the conference. In addition, a number of local, regional and international experts in public debt management participated in the conference organized by MoF for the second consecutive year.
HE Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of State for Financial Affairs, delivered the keynote address where he spoke about the financial and economic aspirations of the UAE as well as federal government's plan to develop a domestic market for government securities and the public debt management office (PDMO). HE the Minister of State for Financial Affairs stressed the importance of this conference as an ideal platform for consultation, exchange of ideas, developing solutions and recommendations to improve public debt strategies in the UAE. He viewed debt management as a key support for the national economy and a strategic imperative for the knowledge-based economy.
“A federal law has been drafted based on the federal government’s role in supporting and developing the public debt market. In line with the Council of Ministers’ directives, MoF began the establishment of a public debt management office for developing debt management strategies and studying all potential risks. MoF seeks to provide effective public debt management to enhance public finances in the national economy. It will carefully monitor and assess risks contained in the structure of government debt and will suggest strategies to mitigate those risks,” said HE Al Tayer.
“Previous crises in debt markets have highlighted the importance of effective debt management practices and the need for efficient and strong capital markets. In parallel with sound financial and monetary management practices, the implementation of prudent public debt management policies would be the solid foundation needed for this market,” added HE Al Tayer.
The conference included a presentation by Simon Williams, Chief Economist, MENA region, HSBC, in which he set out key requirements for investors to invest in the UAE and GCC region. The agenda also included a panel discussion on planning the development of a sovereign debt securities market in the UAE, where the panelists were Nadia Sultan, Officer in charge for the PDMO, Saif bin Hadef Al Shamsi, Senior Executive Director, Head of Treasury, UAE Central Bank, and Dr. Munther Barakat, Senior Advisor on Studies and Research at the Securities and Commodities Authority.
Tai Boon Leong, Executive Director, Development Group, Monetary Authority of Singapore gave a presentation that elaborated on Singapore’s experience in establishing a conventional bond market. Gabriel Sensenbrenner, Head of Middle East and Central Asia Department, International Monetary Fund (IMF) discussed the key lessons for public debt management professionals in light of the global financial crisis. Jean-Luc Steylaers, Senior Advisor to the Belgian Treasury introduced the rationale behind countries establishing debt management offices (DMO), and the types of DMO structures and responsibilities.
Conclusions for debt and capital markets development in the UAE were drawn from the many presentations and discussions during the day. Participants proposed steps and suggestions about public debt management that could benefit the UAE.