Construction starts in 2020 instead of 2018
KUWAIT: Secretary General of the Federation of GCC Chambers (FGCCC) Abdul Raheem Naqi said that the GCC railway project would be delayed because of infrastructural and technical problems. Naqi also denied there being any political problems behind the delay and stressed that instead of commencing construction in 2018, it would start in 2020.
The GCC railway is a proposed railway system to connect all six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Naqi added that Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman had gone a long way in domestically executing the project and linking some of the cities together with railroads. He also noted that Bahrain had recently selected a specialized international company to execute the project that would initially start operating locally before connecting various states. Constructing the railway system in Kuwait has faced many obstacles in recent years, primarily in terms of removing farms and other private property from the proposed route, in addition to making sure that the route does not conflict with existing oil facilities.
GCC businessmen consortium
Speaking at a press conference held to introduce the GCC Industry Forum, due to be held in Fujairah in the UAE on April 5, Naqi said that a consortium was set up by GCC businessmen and women to establish a multipurpose holding company to support small and medium projects. In addition, Naqi explained that once established, the company would provide ample investment opportunities for the private sector as well as job opportunities for youth. “The company will also help diversify national income sources,” he underlined.
Naqi said GCC states aspire towards increasing the industrial sector’s contribution in their GDP to 25 percent by 2020. He also expected GCC industrial investment to reach $1 trillion by 2020, when GCC states would have finished building the currently under-construction industrial cities.
Free trade agreement with UK
In other news, GCC officials said GCC states are working on signing an early free trade agreement with Britain so that they could get priority arrangements when UK exits from the EU. The official said that the agreement’s draft would be ready within a month. The sources said that UK could not currently sign any agreements because it was still an EU member. Notably, GCC-UK annual trade volume is about £30 billion, said a Qatari official, who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to speak to the media, noting that Qatar’s Finance Minister Ali Sharif Al-Ammadi had discussed part of the agreement in a meeting with the British Treasury Secretary Phillip Hammond in December.
By A Saleh