The Managing Director of International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, hailed the steps taken by a number of Arab states to enhance their financial framework, urging them to exert more efforts amid the recent pressuring economic conditions.
“The oil exporters have not fully recovered from the dramatic oil price shock of 2014,” Lagarde said Saturday in Dubai.
Public debt among oil exporters rose from 13% of GDP in 2013 to 33% of GDP in 2018, Lagarde said. She added that public debt among Arab oil importing nations had increased from 64% to 85% of Gross Domestic Product in the decade since 2008 -- nearly half of these countries now have a public debt of over 90% of GDP.
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“In this vein, I will address two key pillars of good fiscal management: (i) strong fiscal frameworks; and (ii) good governance and transparency,” she said.
The United Arab Emirates along with some other regional countries, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Sudan, and Lebanon, have all set up macro-fiscal units, which is a useful first step in strengthening the fiscal framework. Mauritania, Morocco, Jordan, and Lebanon are making great progress with medium-term public investment planning and execution, Lagarde continued.
"This is a big vision. But as Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum once said: The bigger your vision, the bigger your achievement will be…we cannot let fear keep us small. We have to be brave to be big.
“Let me wrap up. Let me end with some wise words attributed to the great Ibn Khaldun, “He who finds a new path is a pathfinder, even if the trail has to be found again by others; and he who walks far ahead of his contemporaries is a leader. You are the pathfinders, the leaders, the visionaries. We hope that we can give useful guidance, but we look to you to find the right path to make this vision a reality,” she concluded.
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