By: Gulam Ali Khan

MUSCAT: Helped by regulatory reforms in the areas of power and cross-border trade, the sultanate registered a significant improvement in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ ranking this year.

Oman was placed 70th globally in the rankings released on Wednesday, climbing seven notches from 77 last year.

The sultanate was ranked the fourth best place to do business in the GCC region, ahead of Saudi Arabia (83) and Kuwait (101), but behind the UAE (31), Bahrain (65) and Qatar (68).

Media report, which surveyed 189 economies this year, measures aspects of regulation affecting ten areas of the life of the business in an economy.

According to the report, significant improvement in two indicators, ‘getting electricity’ and ‘trading across boarders,’ pushed the sultanate up the ladder.

Globally, Oman was placed 60th on the ease of ‘getting electricity’ ranking, a drastic improvement from 124 last year.

According to the report, Oman made changes to improve the reliability of power supply. “In January 2015, the utility in Oman began recording the duration and frequency of outages to compute the annual system average interruption duration index and system average interruption frequency index. This enabled the utility to analyse outage date, identify and eliminate inefficiencies and accurately assess the impact of these initiatives on the distribution network.”

In ease of ‘trading across borders’ ranking, Oman occupied the 69th position this year, climbing seven places from 76 last year. “Oman reduced the time for border compliance for both exporting and importing by transferring cargo operations from Port Sultan Qaboos to Sohar Port,” the report said.

However, the sultanate recorded a big fall in ease of ‘starting a business’, where it ranked 149th out of 189 economies against 121 last year.

According to data collected under the Doing Business survey, starting a business in Oman requires five procedures, takes seven days, costs 3.2 per cent of income per capita and requires paid-in minimum capital of 273.7 per cent of income per capita.

The sultanate also witnessed declines in its rankings for ‘dealing with construction permits’, ‘getting credit’, ‘registering property’ and ‘protecting minority interest’. While its ranking remained unchanged in ‘paying taxes (10)’ and ‘enforcing contracts (70 ), the sultanate climbed three places in ‘resolving insolvency (105)’.