Bahrain ‘Mena’s most economically free country’
Manama, January 15, 2014
Bahrain remains the Mena region’s most economically free country, according to the annual Index of Economic Freedom published by The Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal.
The kingdom was ranked 13th out of 178 economies globally, between the US and the UK which ranked 12th and 14th respectively. It is the only Mena country to rank in the top 20.
The UAE was ranked 28th by the index, followed by Qatar in 30th position, Oman at 48th, Kuwait at 76th and Saudi Arabia at 77th position.
The report highlighted that Bahrain’s “transition to greater openness and diversification is based on foundations of economic freedom,” and that it “continues to be a financial hub for dynamic economic activity, with high levels of trade and investment bolstered by a competitive and efficient regulatory environment.”
Bahrain has improved its economic freedom score in a number of categories at an above-average rate since index grading began 20 years ago, particularly in the areas of financial freedom, investment freedom and labour freedom, said the report.
Kamal bin Ahmed, Minister of Transportation and acting chief executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), said: “We are delighted that Bahrain’s efforts to improve economic freedom and the kingdom’s strong economic fundamentals have again been recognised in the Index of Economic Freedom.
“Bahrain’s leading position and consistent high ranking over the last 20 years is a reflection of efforts to ensure we provide investors with the free and open business environment they need so we can continue to deliver sustainable growth for Bahrainis.”
The 2014 Index of Economic Freedom measures the level of economic freedom on 10 pillars - business freedom, trade freedom, fiscal freedom, government size, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, property rights, freedom from corruption and labour freedom.
The report pointed out that Bahrain has a low average tariff rate and relatively few non-tariff barriers, favourable tax regime with most businesses exempt from taxation and no personal tax, and on the ease of starting a business which costs less than one per cent of the level of average annual income. - TradeArabia News Service