The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has achieved many milestones since its founding and is well on its way to achieving the visions and hope of the GCC states, Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, the UAE’s Minister of State for Financial Affairs, said here yesterday.
“The successes that we have achieved so far reflect our wise leaderships and their strategy of implementing an economic and financial integration system to raise living standards for their citizens,” said Al Tayer in his address to the Gulf Financial and Economic Integration Forum.
“It is important that we establish full integration between GCC countries through applying full liberalisation of inter-state trade, and to achieve equality for all GCC citizens without exception in all financial sectors and domains. We are committed to implementing the directives of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, which has led us to become a leading nation in applying GCC integration efforts,” Al Tayer added.
“We believe that building a strong regional economy will be the best way to enhance the sustainable growth in the GCC countries,” Al Tayer said.
Speaking at the forum, Dr Abdul Latif Bin Rashid Al Zayani, the GCC Secretary-General, said the GCC countries have undertaken many initiatives towards achieving financial integration, including the establishment of a free trade zone in 1983 and the launch of the GCC Customs Union in 2003. Later, speaking to reporters, Al Tayer said the UAE expects a budget deficit of Dh400 million in 2012. The deficit for the first nine months of this year was Dh1.2 billion, he added.
The UAE will spend about Dh19.7 billion or 47.12 percent of its Dh41.8 billion budget on social development next year. The federal Cabinet earlier this month approved the draft federal budget for 2012 with an estimated income of Dh41.4 billion. The budget focuses on social services, followed by education.