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Just get a whiff of that fiscal freedom

Just get a whiff of that fiscal freedom

Mel Gibson would love it here, thinks Kipp. We’re big on freedom. Fiscal freedom, that is. In fact we’re top of the world.


January 13, 2011 2:22 by

“But Kipp,” you yell, “what about our prize?” Ah yes, sorry, didn’t we say? There is no prize. Instead we just have to make do with knowing that we’re fiscally better off than lots and lots of other people out there, which, when you think about it, is a pretty good consolation to winning no prize.

If it’s even true. Kipp hates to rain on a parade, but one thing that caught our eye was the business freedom measure. You would think, in a country where it can be insanely difficult to start and run a business, that we’d register a pretty lousy number for this one, but no. Emirates 24-7 says: “In the business freedom parameter, which is a quantitative measure of the ability to start, operate, and close a business that represents the overall burden of regulation as well as the efficiency of government in the regulatory process, the UAE scored 67.3 (out of 100), slipping marginally by 0.1 point from the 2010 ranking.”

Wow. Well, someone should perhaps tell that to the UAE government officials, in the National calling for an urgent reform of the bankruptcy and debt laws in order to attract more investment. Fahad Saeed al Raqbani, the director general of the Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development told a conference that investors are “going to go to the countries that serve their best interests. If closing a business takes four to five years, then of course they’re going to go elsewhere.”

Hmm. So this US-based study that measured among other things the ease with which a business can shut down has given the UAE almost 70 points out of a hundred in the relevant category, while a high powered official from that very country says the system needs a major overhaul and winding down can take as long as four to five years.

Perhaps this Index is not all it’s cracked up to be, after all. We should have known something was up when it ranked labour freedom in the UAE as 72.4 (and that was before the recent law change).

We’ll fax Gibbo and tell him to sit tight for now.

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