"Assessment of Statistical Readiness for Economic and

Monetary Union in the GCC Region"

High-level Meeting on joint GCC-Stat/GMCo Report

Kuwait City, December 19, 2018

Minutes of meeting

A high-level information meeting, hosted by the Central Bank of Kuwait and organized jointly by the Statistical Centre for the Cooperation Council for the Arab Countries of the Gulf (GCC-Stat) and the Gulf Monetary Council (GMCo), was held in Kuwait City on December 19, 2018. The meeting was chaired by His Excellency the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Kuwait, Mr. Yousef J Al Obaid. He was supported by Dr. Atef Al Rashidi and Sabir Rashid Al-Harbi, President and Director General of GMCo and GCC STAT, respectively.

The purpose of the meeting was to present the findings and conclusions of the "Report on Assessment of Statistical Readiness for Monetary Union in the GCC Region."  Specifically, the objectives of the meeting were to:

  • Inform the authorities of member countries at senior level of the main recommendations in the report.
  • Request their support for their implementation. 
  • Agree on the way forward.

Participants from the six GCC member countries were from the following institutions:

  • National Central Banks.
  • Ministries of Finance.
  • National Statistical Offices (including at Federal level in the case of UAE).
  • Other (Arab Monetary Fund; GCC; Office of the GCC Economic & Development Affairs Commission - EDAC).

The report discussed was a consolidated version of the individual country reports that were shared with each member country.

Main Conclusions Reached

Overall

  • Noted the overlap between the road maps in the consolidated economic union (six countries) and monetary union (four countries) reports for monetary and financial statistics.
  • Given the overlap, allow the taskforce established by the GCC Committee of Governors of Central Banks to complete its work.
  • Once the taskforce completes its work, consider its recommendations and if required, set up a high-level committee of senior-level statisticians from all GCC countries, GCC secretariat, GCC-Stat, and GMCo to oversee and manage the implementation of the road maps. Such a Committee was seen as essential for good governance, enhancing accountability, and for coordinating economic and financial statistics work within the GCC region. 

 

Implementation of the road maps

  • Strong support for adopting international statistical and dissemination standards, including subscribing to the Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS), compared to the present Enhanced General Data Dissemination System (e-GDDS) status of all GCC member countries.
  • Recognition of the need for: 
    • Memoranda of understanding within countries, between countries and the regional agencies, and between regional agencies to support data collection and compilation. Working within existing laws, such memoranda would detail more specifically data submission requirements, including timeliness and validation mechanisms, and cooperation arrangements among agencies. 
    • Harmonized regional report forms. 
  • Recognition of the need to strengthen human resources to fully implement the road maps. 
  • Strongly welcome IMF support in implementing the road maps, and welcome cooperation with the Arab Monetary Fund going forward.

Tasks for 2019

While waiting for the taskforce to consider the reports, the meeting encouraged member countries to carry out the following tasks:

  • draw up work plans to close deviations from international standards for priority datasets. 
  • start work on developing standardized regional report forms. 
  • work together with GCC-stat and GMCo to prepare heat maps by country by major dataset to guide the work ahead. 
  • GMCo and GCC-Stat to provide annual reports to GMCo Board of Directors and GCC Committee of Governors of Central Banks on progress in implementing the road maps.