Sultanate of Oman: One of most economically free countries in the world
MUSCAT - Oman has been ranked the 26th most economically free country in the world, according to the 2013 Economic Freedom of the World Report, released by the Fraser Institute, Canada's leading public policy think-tank.
The report reveals that the Sultanate has made considerable improvements in the Sound Money and Freedom to Trade Internationally Indexes as it becomes more competitive in global markets and offers attractive incentives to investors.
It further highlights Oman's efforts to reduce bureaucracy, bypassing outdated regulations and safeguarding property rights while aggressively promoting international trade and investment.
The annual Economic Freedom of the World Report is the most objective and accurate measure of economic freedom published by any organization, using 42 distinct variables to create an index ranking countries around the world based on policies that encourage economic freedom.
Hong Kong and Singapore retain the top two positions in the 2013 Economic Freedom of the World Report, followed by New Zealand, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Mauritius, Finland, the United Kingdom and Chile completing the top-10. Within the GCC, Oman is the third most economically free country amongst its neighbours.
"As more countries are surveyed each year and standards improve, Oman's ranking of 26th out of 152 countries clearly signals we are a leading business destination for investment and a country that is serious about improving its business environment and competitive appeal. In fact, research shows that people living in countries with high levels of economic freedom enjoy higher levels of prosperity, greater individual freedoms and longer life spans," remarked HE Dr. Salem ben Nasser Al Ismaily, Chairman, The Public Authority for Investment Promotion and Export Development (PAIPED).
Commenting on Oman's financial performance, HE Hamood Sangour Al Zadjali, Executive President, Central Bank of Oman, said, "Over the past few years, the Sultanate's financial markets have matured significantly, this has resulted in improved liquidity as well as supported growth in a number of sectors."
From the 152 countries, Oman's overall performance remains consistent with last year's report in key categories:
*Access to sound money: 85th to 81st
*Freedom to trade internationally: 9th to 6th
*Size of government: 91st to 101st.
*Legal system and security of property rights: 2nd to 5th.
*Regulation: 12th to 23rd
Faris Al Farsi, PAIPED's Director General of Investment Promotion, remarked, "Areas highlighted by the report for improvement include regulations pertaining to credit market, labour laws and general business framework. In this regard, the PAIPED team works closely with government agencies and the business community to identify and resolve challenges. And on a positive note, the ranking suggests that our collaborative work is beginning to pay dividends."
Commenting on the report, His Highness Sayyid Dr. Adham Al Said, Assistant Professor of Economics at Sultan Qaboos University, said, "Oman should be pleased with its overall performance in advancing economic freedom. It needs to be mindful of the areas of marked improvements and seek to maintain them. Moreover, it needs to identify the causes of regression in those areas which it historically performed well. Finally, Oman has to address the deficiencies in those areas which have high impact on economic freedom such as regulation and the legal system."
"Our ranking in this year's Economic Freedom of the World Report demonstrates a solid foundation for future growth and highlights the progress we are making as a successful market economy. Indeed, our work on economic freedom with other government agencies and Oman's private sector will, I believe, lead to greater innovation, risk-taking, entrepreneurship and ultimately, a higher standard of living for the people of Oman," concluded HE Dr. Al Ismaily, PAIPED's Chairman.