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GCC Countries Seek to Enhance Skills in Private Sector | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Conferees at the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) informal summit in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah on May 31, 2016. AFP

Riyadh-Gulf Cooperation Countries are seeking to raise performance capacities in the private sector to face fluctuations in oil prices and the resulting economic crises.

Meetings held in this regard coincide with a recent agreement to create a special authority for development and economic affairs that would work towards accelerating economic growth in the region.

Abdel-Rahim Naqi, Secretary General of GCC Federation of Chambers, told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that Gulf countries share an ardent desire to support issues related to the unification of economic laws, adding that the decision to establish an economic and development authority has confirmed Gulf states’ keenness on implementing the Gulf integration plan in line with the vision of King Salman bin Abdulaziz.

Naqi said that investment levels in the Gulf were well-balanced, noting that the region’s investment vision can be achieved by allowing the private sector to fulfill its role as a major partner within this vision.

He also said that the private sector was looking for the creation of a suitable investment environment that would attract local investments sooner than foreign ones.

The GCC official pointed out at challenges facing Arab Gulf countries such as strengthening the private sector to become an added-value for Gulf states in face of declining oil prices. In this regard, Naqi highlighted the importance of enhancing the quality of the private sector’s performance.

Naqi drew attention to the need to develop laws and regulations and raise transparency levels, as well as to promote the principle of governance, adding that the biggest challenge remains in offering Gulf nationals broad work opportunities.

The GCC official said that the private sector was looking forward to the removal of all obstacles pertaining to Customs unions and the flow of commodities and goods. He added that stalled projects in Gulf countries were due to a slow economic growth and the decrease in oil prices, noting that resolving such issues would be possible through the diversification of revenue sources and openness to new economic opportunities away from oil.

Earlier this month, GCC leaders decided during their meeting in Jeddah, which was chaired by King Salman, to form a high-level body among the member states titled “Economic and Developmental Affairs Authority.”

The Commission will follow up the implementation of King Salman’s vision in boosting joint GCC work through examining policies, recommendations, studies and projects that contribute to enhancing cooperation, coordination and integration among the member states.

It will also follow up the implementation of economic decisions, agreements and regulations adopted by GCC.