You may not know this, but you’ve been walking around with other people’s money in your wallet. Dirhams are printed by companies in the UK and France, and coins are made by the Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg.
Not any more. The UAE’s first banknote printing plant was opened at the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi on Saturday by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.
Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, presented Sheikh Mohammed with the first Dh1,000 note, bearing the number 1.
The plant’s operators, Oumolat Security Printing, aim to provide printing services for central banks across the Middle East.
“From a security, efficiency and sovereignty point of view, it’s always preferable to have local mint capacity,” said John Sfakianakis, director of economic research at the Gulf Research Centre in Riyadh.
“At times, countries could mint extra-territorially in emergencies but it’s always preferred to mint coins and banknotes within one’s borders.”
Oumolat said it “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”.
The dirham has been in use since 1973. Before that, during the early days of the country and the era of the Trucial States, currencies in common usage included the Bahraini dinar, the Qatari riyal, the Saudi riyal, the Dubai riyal, the Gulf rupee and the Indian rupee.
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