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The UAE Gets into the Business of Printing Money

March 11th, 2017 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, The National, UAE

Curiously, for the first 44 years of its history, the United Arab Emirates outsourced the making of its money. As in, printing bank notes and minting coins.

I know the UAE dirham notes well, having carried them around in my pocket for the six-plus years I lived in the country.

I had no idea, however, that the UAE’s paper money was printed in France and the United Kingdom, and its coins were minted in Canada.

Maybe it’s just me, but if I ran a country I would prefer to keep the (literal) creation of money in my own country. Would make me less nervous that a pallet or two of the larger denominations might fall off the back of a truck even before it left the country of origin.

The UAE is making its own money, from now, with the opening of a plant in Abu Dhabi, the capital. Presumably, it will continue to look and feel the same — which is “not particularly impressive, when compared to the dollar and the euro”.

(I never had a sense that the dirham felt like “real” money and because of that I may have been a bit sloppy about how it spent it.)

It also appears that Oumolat Security Printing, the printing firm, is owned by the government.

The National quoted an economist as saying:

“From a security, efficiency and sovereignty point of view, it’s always preferable to have local mint capacity. At times, countries could mint extra-territorially in emergencies but it’s always preferred to mint coins and banknotes within one’s borders.”

Oumolat (an Arabic word which means “currency”) is ready to run up some cash of other nations in the Gulf region, if they have been outsourcing, too.

According to the company, “Oumolat aspires to become the premium choice of Central Banks for any banknote-related matters, including production, consultancy, planning of security upgrades to existing banknote designs, provision of conceptual design ideas and conceiving of new security features and concepts.”

An all-around currency production site, then. Good. I imagine the ruling sheikhs of the UAE feel a little better about this, today.


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