Washington, Asharq Al-Awsat- The Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think tank, deemed Saudi Arabia “mostly free” in its annual report on global economic freedom.
The report, which was produced for public view this week, places a high value on liberalized trade policies, low levels of government intervention, and privatized economies. At the top of the list were Hong Kong, Singapore, and Ireland, each earning scores of between about 1.3 and 1.5, with a “1” being the “most free,” and a “5” being the “least free.”
Saudi Arabia was awarded a 2.84 grading, making it one of the most free countries in the Middle East.
“The Saudi government held its first nationwide municipal elections in February 2005,” the report said. “The government has sought to diversify the economy to reduce its dependence on oil exports and strengthen the private sector.”
Saudi Arabia was given high marks under the “Fiscal Burden” category, because it has no income tax or corporate tax for its citizens or businesses. The kingdom was also given a good grade for its monetary policy-from 1995 to 2004, its weighted average annual rate of inflation was 0.34 percent-and for the government’s hands-off approach toward waging and pricing.
In conclusion, the report said, economically, Saudi Arabia is “mostly free.”