(MENAFN - Arab News) Top Gulf officials welcomed the government's decision to switch to a Friday-Saturday weekend schedule and said this was bound to have a positive impact both on the economic front as well as at the social level.
Khalil Abdullah Al-Khanji, chairman of the Federation of GCC Chambers, said the decision conforms with regional and global economy needs. The recent decisions taken by Saudi Arabia and Oman would reduce the gap between the GCC market and others by saving one whole day. The two countries were the only members which had not implemented a Friday-Saturday weekend.
Pointing out that financial institutions and stock markets used to work shifts to cover the variations in market holidays, Al-Khanji said the average working gap between Gulf and international markets used to be four-and-a-half working days. The economic gap has been reduced to one-and-a-half days because of the time difference between the East and the West.
"GCC member countries aspiring for a common and unified market must have a unified holiday, and should reduce differences. These decisions augur well for the proposed economic unification," he said.
Adnan Yousif, head of Al-Baraka Banking Group, said Saudi banks were not merely local financial institutions and dealing only with the local market. "They have huge investments abroad and dealings at local, regional and international levels, and changing the weekend schedule will certainly have a positive impact on banking operations," he said.
He said that though Saudi banks were taking offs on Thursdays and Fridays, they operated the treasury and conducted external dealings even on these days.