Although its score remained unchanged, Jordan slipped from 63 to 65 in the newly published World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) report.
The report said Jordan benefited from a relatively efficient institutional system and strong infrastructure, innovation, and business sophistication. It lists the top three market efficiency enhancers to be higher education and training, goods market efficiency, and labor market efficiency.
It also cited increasing taxes, access to financing, and policy instability to be the three most disparaging aspects of conducting business within the Kingdom in an Executive Opinion Survey.
The government has worked to consolidate the country’s fiscal situation and macroeconomic environment by increasing taxes and scrutiny of public spending by the private sector. But economist and former Deputy Prime Minister Jawad Anani believes increasing taxes will stifle productivity.
“If you increase taxes, businesses lose profits and it decreases efforts. Increasing taxes will put us on a downward spiral,” he said.
Instead of increasing taxes, he suggested improving the process of addressing tax evasion efficiently, which is of vital importance to the state budget and the overall economy. He also suggested cutting subsidies and limiting them to Jordanian citizens only.
According to the report, The United Arab Emirates (17th) is leading the way among the Arab countries, followed by Qatar (25th), and Saudi Arabia (30), while Egypt went up 14 points and is now 101. “As Arab countries that surround us improve in rank, Jordan remains in a stand-still and declining,” Anani said.
Switzerland was ranked as the most competitive economy worldwide followed by the United States and Singapore, which swapped second and third positions since 2016.
The GCI scores are calculated by drawing together country-level data covering 12 categories of competition in a given country. These pillars are: institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labor market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication and innovation.