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Arab Countries Expected to See Economic Growth in 2017 | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The logo of Arab Bank is seen during the opening of the Annual
Arab Banking Conference in Beirut, Lebanon. (Image: Reuters

Abu Dhabi – Statistics of the Arab Monetary Fund revealed that economies of Arab countries achieved around 3.4% growth over the past five years (2012-2016), while they expected to reach 2.8% growth in 2017 compared with 2.3% in 2016.

Statistics showed that the current growth rates didn’t reach the required level that helps Arab countries in making advancement in the field of unemployment and poverty averages, their financial policies also face many challenges to control the general financial conditions, as the deficit in the Arab countries’ budgets has overcome their GDP by 10%.

These figures were revealed during the launch of Undersecretaries of Arab Ministries of Finance meeting hosted by Abu Dhabi and organized by the Arab Monetary Fund in cooperation with the UAE Ministry of Finance.

Dr. Abdulrahman al Hamidy, director general, chairman of the Board of the Arab Monetary Fund said that the local, regional, and global financial repercussions urge for the importance of enhancing public resources, in order to respond to the growing governmental expenditure and enhance general financial conditions, like increasing the filling of fiscal revenues.

He added that the Arab countries depending on oil revenues have worked on diversifying their resources, enhancing non-oil resources, and adopting different fiscal policies – they applied indirect and more efficient consumption taxes like the value-added tax (VAT) and reviewed other policies aiming at enhancing their efficiency to achieve balance among general budgets and create the required environment to support investments through reformist measures.

From his part, Younis Al Khouri, under-secretary at the UAE Ministry of Finance said that the ministry has discussed the law of public debt with the Central Bank and added that the laws of value-added and selective taxes will be issued soon.

Back to Abdulrahman al Hamidy, he said that Arab economies face challenges caused by regional and global changes, including the slow recovery in the globally economy, fluctuation in global oil price in low levels and repercussion of their drop on the growth perspectives in Arab countries.

Director General of the Board of the Arab Monetary Fund noted that the drop in the global oil prices contributed in alleviating imbalances in the budgets of Arab countries importing oil, however, he continued that maintaining financial reforms and improving business environment still represent a priority for these countries. He added that enhancing efforts of economic diversity has been an important matter for all the Arab countries, regardless of their economies’ differences, as many of them still depend on the revenues of a limited number of exported goods.

The schedule of the second meeting of Undersecretaries of Arab Ministries of Finance includes the discussion of work papers on reforms in the Arab world’s energy sector along with a work paper tackling important perspectives and challenges of enhancing efficiency of the general investments. It also features two studies introduced by the Arab Monetary Fund, tackling the analysis for systems and fiscal policies in the Arab World, and the application of VAT.