Private sector seeks bigger say

The private sector in six Gulf hydrocarbon producers is demanding a bigger say in government economic decisions as part of a long term strategy to expand its role in development and become a strategic partner with the public sector.

The head of the private sector in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) made the call at talks by the region’s chambers of commerce and Industry in Bahrain this week.

Khalil Abdullah Al Khanji, chairman of the Saudi-based Chambers’ Federation, said the private sector appreciates the “pioneering” role played by governments in member states in domestic development over the past years.

“But the situation has changed…the global developments, mainly those related to oil prices, now require plans to expand the private sector’s involvement in the domestic economy,” he said in a statement sent to Emirates 24/7.

“There is a pressing need to find regular and constant channels through which the private sector can express its views in economic issues…this will strengthen ties between the two sides and allow the private sector to become a strategic partner with the public sector in the coming period.”

He said the private sector in the GCC, which controls more than a third of the global oil resources, wants regional leaders to recognize its desire to become more involved in domestic issues, mainly vital economic decisions such as moves to fully implement the customs union and the common market.

“There is a need to have more joint meetings with government officials and committees as this will produce positive results and gains for all…the nature of the next stage necessitates a greater role by the private sector in the GCC economic integration.”

The GCC groups the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman in a political, defence and economic alliance created on May 25, 1981.

The six members have created a customs union and a common market in line with their 1982 economic pact while four of them have launched a landmark monetary union.


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