MENA region needs new approach to plunging oil prices — pundit

DOHA, March 25 (KUNA) — It is incumbent on MENA governments to resort to flexible economic policies that reflect the current plunging of oil prices, said Dr. Hassan Ali, Dean of The Doha Institute for Graduate Studies at the conclusion of an economic conference in Doha on Friday.
Among these policies should be the re-consideration of pegging GCC countries’ currencies to the US Dollar, Dr. Ali told the last meeting today of the Middle East Economic Association’s Fifteenth International Conference, stressing that the Gulf region will remain exposed to outside shocks in the price of oil as long as the region’s economies are totally dependent on oil revenues.
Dr. Ali, who is also president of the Association, said one of the solutions for sagging state budgets would be “to implement national tax policies” from which the budgets could be propped up. This approach could be bolstered by constricting state expenditures as well, he said.
He affirmed the need to monitor closely the movement of capital in and out of the region’s financial markets, noting that with the emphasis on education, technology, and innovation the MENA region’s economies could get a well-deserved shot in the arm.
He came out strongly for the region’s states to delve deeply into diversifying their economies, noting at the same time the crucial role governments must play in channeling investments so as to maintain an acceptable level of sustainable development.
The conference, hosted by the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies over the past three days, was attended by about 200 economic experts who presented numerous work papers and took part in 20 workshops. (end) nnd.ajs