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Oman ranks as one of top 30 countries for economic freedom

Oman is ranked as one of the world’s top 30 counties for economic freedom, according to the 2011 Economic Freedom of the World Report published by the Fraser Institute, a Canadadian economic think-tank

The top spot in this year’s report, which assesses 141 nations and uses 49 different measures, goes to Hong Kong, followed by Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland and Australia.

The rankings for the Middle East include Bahrain 11th; UAE, 14th; Oman, 28th (up 15 places from 43rd from last year); Kuwait, 47th; Jordan 62nd; Israel 83rd; Egypt 93rd; Tunisia 94th; and Morocco 105th. The 2011 Report is based on data from 2009, the most recent year for which comprehensive information is available. In producing the annual peer-reviewed Economic Freedom of the World Report, the Fraser Institute works in co-operation with independent institutes in 75 nations and territories — including the Oman-based non-governmental, independent, non-profit think tank the International Research Foundation.

“The data used to construct the index ratings are from external sources such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and the World economic Forum,” said Dr Salem ben Nasser al Ismaily, Chairman of the Public Authority for Investment, Promotion and Export Development.

The Report rates countries on a zero-to-ten scale. Higher scores indicate greater economic freedom. The overall index is based on ratings in five broad areas and these include: 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.

According to the Report, Oman has seen marked improvements in three key areas — size of government (82nd in 2009 — 92nd in 2008); access to sound money (51st in 2009 — 68th in 2008); and regulating credit, labour and business (7th in 2009 — 13th in 2008).

With regard legal structure and security of property rights Oman remains ranked 19th. And in freedom to trade internationally the sultanate slipped two places from 17th to 19th.

Published in 1996, the first Economic Freedom of the World Report was the result of a decade of research by a team which included several Nobel Laureates and over 60 other leading scholars drawn from economics, political science, law to philosophy. Policy makers the world over consider the Economic Freedom of the World Report an important annual publication. Indeed, it clearly illustrates the differences in the standards of living of people in economically freer systems compared with those in less-free systems. The Report makes it clear that people in a freer economy have better lives, in virtually every way, than their counterparts in the less-free economies.

“As a nation, the sultanate has made remarkable progress. Data from 1985 gave us a Report chain linked summary index ranking of 6.70. Today, we have climbed to 7.64 — a higher rating than Norway (7.24); the Netherlands (7.25); Malaysia; (6.68); Korea (7.37); Japan (7.37); and the United Arab Emirates (7.26). This is certainly cause for celebration,” remarked Dr Al Ismaily.

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