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High crude prices will boost job market


High crude prices will continue to fuel the expansion of GCC economies, boosting the number of jobs for nationals and foreigners, the regions private sector has said.

The Federation of the GCC Chambers of Commerce and Industry has called on member countries to prepare for growth in the job market by taking measures to regulate the movement of foreign labour.

In a study released at the end of September, the chamber predicted that high oil prices, this year, combined with increased public spending will boost the combined nominal GDP of the alliance by 4.4 per cent to nearly US$983 billion and growth could continue in the following years on the back of strong prices and high capital inflow.

The report also predicted that the flow of foreign direct investment into the GCC would pick up from around US$48 billion in 2009 to US$64.4 billion in 2010 and US$81.3 billion in 2011. It projected that private capital could swell from around US$50.7 billion to US$55.9 billion and nearly US$68 billion in the same period.

"The job market requirements in the GCC are projected to record sharp growth in the coming years due to an expected expansion in the regional economies...demand for qualified labour, whether nationals or expatriates, will largely increase," said the Dammam-based Chambers, which represents the Arab world's largest and wealthiest private sector.

"At the same time, pressure from international labour groups will gain momentum and this should prompt regional nations to adopt flexible laws and regulations that will take into consideration the interests of all parties and meet the demands of their membership in the World Trade Organization."

The study said these developments should also push the GCC countries to increase coordination on labour policies and laws. "This coordination has become an exceptional priority...the movement of labour, including foreign workers, among the GCC countries has become easier with the creation of the Gulf common market last year," it said.