Muscat: Oman is ranked 59th in the World Economic Freedom report 2016.
Oman maintained its ranking in the annual report, although its rating increased to 7.27 from 7.21 in the previous year.
The report, compiled by the Fraser Institute, ranks countries based on economic freedom, which includes five key factors, including size of government, legal system and property rights, sound money, freedom to trade internationally and regulations.
According to the authors, “The index published in the Economic Freedom of the World measures the degree to which the policies and institutions of countries are supportive of economic freedom. The cornerstones of economic freedom are personal choice, voluntary exchange, freedom to enter markets and compete, and security of persons and privately owned property.”
Hong Kong and Singapore were ranked in first place, followed by New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, Georgia, Ireland, Mauritius, the United Arab Emirates, Australia and the United Kingdom, to complete the top 10.
Oman remains 4th in the GCC ranking, with UAE occupying 5th spot in the world, followed by Qatar in 12th place and Bahrain ranked 26th.
The country received a commendable rank in the category of legal system and property rights(25th) and in the sub-category of credit market regulation (14th), but fared badly in the index, such as size of government (144th) and sound money (88th).
Oman’s rank has dropped from 28th place in 2000 to 59th in 2016, which is mainly due to the small improvement in the size of government rating.
According to Faisal Khan, Managing Director at a firm, the report presents accurate ratings and there is little to dispute. “I find most ratings very reflective of the scenario in Oman, with very few things to disagree with. I find the survey perfect,” he said.
Interestingly, major findings of the report include a direct correlation of economic freedom with per capita GDP, life expectancy, average income and political and civil liberties.
Oman is ranked seventh lowest in the world in gender disparity in legal rights, according to the report. Although Oman fared better than UAE and Saudi Arabia in the GCC, it was ranked much lower than several other developing countries.
According to Maaz Firdous, a consultant, gender disparity in legal rights is a very cultural issue and has no real implications in the real world.
“Considering GCC countries are rated badly in this, it just highlights that the ratings are cultural-based and have little to do with inconvenience and real world scenarios. Women are doing equal to men in Oman, sometimes better.”
Ayesha Al Balushi, a banker, says that although the religious norms in Gulf countries lead to these low rankings, they are not very significant. “There is no effect at a personal level, so these ratings don’t matter a lot,” she said.