Google+ Followers

Saturday, 7 November 2009

'No worry about Gulf economy' (Interview)

Talal Abu Ghazaleh, chairman and CEO of Talal Abu Ghazaleh Organisation, one of the largest Arab groups in the field of accounting, financial consulting, economic and strategic studies about Middle East economic issues, shares his views with Gulf News in an exclusive interview.

Gulf News: What is your general view about the economic crisis and would you support the perception that the worst is over?

Talal Abu Ghazaleh: I don't think the crisis is over. I think it is just starting. There are no real signs of recovery, and we won't see them until there is a real restructuring of the financial system in the US. For me, the world we knew ended in 2008 — we are now living in a completely new world, and the crisis will impose and dictate changes. The US has to reform its system on control, so that regulatory agencies can really function. The Fed has very limited influence on policies and rules of the US financial system, it's a very laissez-faire attitude.

Is the Ruler priming a fresh team for Dubai’s next spurt?

The “majlisologists” – observers of the coming and goings in the senior echelons of Dubai Inc – were all a-twitter late last week following an innocuous-looking announcement posted on the official UAE website.

“Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has issued in his capacity as Ruler of Dubai a law attaching the Executive Office in Dubai to the Court of the Ruler,” it said inelegantly.

“The move is part of continuous efforts aimed at achieving comprehensive development in the Emirate of Dubai through the vision of Sheikh Mohammed to improve government performance,” WAM added.

That might seem like a dull bit of reshuffling of the emirate’s administrative machinery, but Emirati friends were bubbling over with speculation. The Executive Office, they pointed out, was largely the creation of Mohammed Abdullah al Gargawi, the Minister of Cabinet Affairs in the Federal Government, chairman of Dubai Holding, and generally regarded as a leading light in the creation of modern Dubai. He ran the Executive Office from the giddy heights of Emirates Towers with a staff of hand-picked aides.

My Emirati pals speculated that Sheikh Mohammed was priming a new team to oversee the next phase in the emirate’s development after the financial crisis. WAM seemed to support this interpretation of the new set up: “It will prepare long term strategic development plans and envisage scenarios of potential challenges in view of the present and future goals and regional changes and recommend strategies for addressing them.”

If this interpretation is correct, it signals a further step up in the apparently irresistible rise of Mohammed al Shaibani, the executive chairman of Investment Corporation of Dubai and director general of the Ruler’s Court.

Horses for courses. Mr al Shaibani is obviously regarded as the best man to advise Sheikh Mohammed on how to get Dubai’s growth strategy back on track.

Announcement here.

Mr Dubai, reporting for duty (Second part)

It has been quite a learning curve for Abdul Rahman al Saleh, the 45-year-old director general of Dubai’s Department of Finance (DoF).

Having spent most of his career labouring anonymously in the engine room of Dubai Inc, he suddenly found himself a fortnight ago in the position of the emirate’s chief salesman abroad.

Mr al Saleh was the linchpin of Dubai’s global roadshow that completed its recent world tour with a deal to raise nearly US$2 billion (Dh7.34bn) on the international capital markets.

Halliburton gets drilling contract

Halliburton Co. said Friday it received a contract to drill and complete oil wells in Saudi Arabia's Ghawar field.

Halliburton said the Ghawar field is the world's largest oil field. It is located about 124 miles from the city of Dhahran.

The five year project would involve work in Uthmaniyah, Haradh, Hawiyah and Shedgum. The project is expected to use three to four rigs, and involve between 153 and 185 oil production, water injection and evaluation wells, Halliburton said.