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Oman Ranks High in Economic Freedom


Middle East : 21 September 2012

Source: Times of Oman
Oman is ranked in the top 20 most economically free countries in world, according to the 2012 Economic Freedom of the World Report released yesterday by the Fraser Institute, a leading Canadian public policy think-tank.

The annual Economic Freedom of the World Report is the premier measurement of economic freedom, using 42 distinct variables to create an index ranking countries around the world based on policies that encourage economic freedom. The cornerstones of economic freedom are: personal choice, voluntary exchange, freedom to compete and security of private property. The Report measures economic freedom in five different areas: size of government, legal structure and security of property rights, access to sound money, freedom to trade internationally, and regulation of credit, labour and business.

“We’re very proud to see that out of 144 countries Oman is ranked 20th in the 2012 World Economic Freedom Report,- remarked Dr. Salem bin Nasser Al Ismaily, chairman, Public Authority for Investment Promotion and Export Development (Paiped). The Sultanate moves up seven places on its 2011 ranking.

Hong Kong and Singapore occupy the top two positions, followed by New Zealand, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Bahrain, Mauritius, Finland and Chile completes the top ten.

On the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) front, Oman is ranked fifth. Bahrain is the best performer in 7th, followed by the UAE in 11th, Qatar 17th, Kuwait 19th and Saudi Arabia trailing in 65th.

From a broader regional perspective, Oman scores very well in comparison to Jordan 23rd, Tunisia 80th and Egypt 99th.
The annual peer-reviewed Economic Freedom of the World Report is produced by the Fraser Institute, one of Canada’s leading public policy think-tanks, in co-operation with independent institutes in over 80 nations and territories.

“Research has shown that economic freedom is important to a society’s overall well-being. Globally, economic freedom is positively correlated with per-capita income, economic growth, greater life expectancy, lower child mortality, the development of democratic institutions, civil and political freedoms, and other desirable social and economic outcomes,- remarked Azzan Al Busaidi, Paiped’s newly-appointed director-general of Research.

Out of the 144 countries surveyed, Oman scores extremely well in the key categories like size of government: changed from 99th to 113th, legal structures and security of property rights: improved from 23rd to 20th. Access to sound money: dropped from 54th to 59th. Freedom to trade internationally: moved down one from 37th to 38th. Regulation: moved up from 20th to 7th. Credit market regulations saw a significant improvement from 105th to 17th, labour market regulations improved from 7th to 6th and business regulations in Oman remained in 6th place.

“In such testing times, it’s crucial for an externally-oriented economy such as Oman to develop new markets, encourage the free flow of information, goods and capital and maintain a level playing field for business and encourage an economically free society,- said Al Busaidi.

“Indeed, our government continues to look at ways of reducing red tape, eliminating outdated regulations, safeguarding property rights and promoting trade and investment. Our ranking in this year’s Economic Freedom of the World Report clearly demonstrates the solid progress we’re making as a nation in many of these areas. Having said that, there’s still more work to be done. We want to improve on our current ranking,- concluded Paiped’s Chairman.

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