China Daily: Arab Gulf States Y2K Readiness : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Gulf Arab states tackle millennium bug

DUBAI (Agencies via Xinhua) _ Awareness of the millennium bug may have taken time to filter through to some Gulf Arab states, but with the turn of the century less than six months away most are now working hard to get their houses in order.

Public concern about potential computer problems associated with the advent of 2000 now seems to be high, with local newspapers filled with tips, updates on compliance efforts of companies and government departments and reports from seminars and surveys focused on beating the millennium bug.

Most of the six Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) states have set up government task forces and committees dedicated to raising awareness and monitoring efforts to deal with the bug. The GCC is made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The millennium bug, known in the software industry as Y2K, refers to the possible inability of computers to recognize the date change from 1999 to 2000 because their timing devices only acknowledge two digits. "I think the awareness process took a long time (in this region) and came in a little bit late," Oracle Corp regional manager Husan Bajani told reporters.

"It came in about 12 months ago, but since then there has been a lot of work done. There are some who have been delayed, but that was mostly for budgetary reasons and they are now trying to catch up with the issue."

Computer firms based in the region said the UAE and Bahrain were best prepared while Saudi sources said the kingdom was also doing a good job in tackling the millennium issue.

Leading banks and financial institutions in Bahrain, the region's financial and banking hub, said recently they had completed preparations to cope with the possible Y2K computer problem prior to a June 30 deadline set by the Bahrain Monetary Agency or central bank. A few months ago, Oman's Commerce and Industry Minister Makboul bin Ali bin Sultan was quoted as saying most ministries, other government establishments, banks and big companies either had overcome the problem or were in the process of doing so.

Commentators in diplomatic, financial and software circles agreed that, in general, the Gulf Arab states had made the best showing in the financial and banking sectors, where preparation for January 1, 2000, began early and was well regulated.

Date: 07/08/99

-- Old Git (, August 07, 1999


Old Git, there is a great powderkeg ready to explode, and I don't want to be anywhere near it!

-- Randolph (, August 07, 1999.

Come now, Randolph, why so pessimistic? After all, "most" of the heavy oil-producing Gulf states have now begun to solve Y2K problems and Saudi Arabia is making "good" progress. I wonder if that means that after the rollover we'll get "most" of the oil we now get from the Gulf states?

-- Old Git (, August 07, 1999.

i'm real impressed that they can do in less than a year what companies over here can't do in 5. hmmmm, maybe the top CIO from Saudi Arabia should run for Pres. over here; real leadership qualities.

-- sarah (, August 08, 1999.

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