GCC economies have acquitted themselves quite well in the past few years, buoyed by sound monetary policies and adept management, said Governor of the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) Mohammad Al-Hashel, in an opening statement here on Wednesday at the start of the 59th meeting of the Committee of Governors of Monetary Agencies and Central Banks in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
Nevertheless, he said that GCC economies were facing a panoply of challenges most of which concentrated in their reliance on oil revenues to prop up their budgets, the latter suffering from overextension in the past few years.
Salient among these challenges also has been the ever-increasing need to see a larger role for the private sector in the economic activities of GCC states, he said while, on the other hand, he noted the stellar performance of the banking sectors in these states which he considered to be a sign of their growing maturity and expertise.
He expressed with satisfaction the banking sectors' letter-perfect adherence to applying all the reforms espoused by Basel 3 including preservation of capital, prudent management of cash flow, and adept approaches to risk management strategies.
He said that the two-day meetings of the GCC central bank governors here will, among other things, focus on boosting joint work among financial institutions of the GCC countries, including enhancing the monitoring of financial transactions and the firmer linking of ATM banking networks as well as unifying payment systems among GCC banks.
Moreover, one of the chief items on the agenda of the governors, he said will be addressing the problem of money laundering and the funding of terrorism.
In a similar address to the meeting here today, GCC Assistant Secretary General for Economic Affairs Abdullah bin Juma'a Al-Shibli emphasized that GCC states have gone far in applying international standards in their financial and banking sectors.
He cited the efforts exerted by the Committee of Governors meeting here in studying the best strategies to update the payment systems among area banks and financial institutions.
To achieve the adoption of optimum payment systems, he said, a study has been launched to seek that goal, whose first stage -- involving an assessment of current approaches to payment systems -- has been completed. Later on this month, he promised, the second stage will be started, which will involve the linkage among all payment systems, including ATMs, of the GCC countries.