Muscat: Oman is the fifth best place in the world for expats to save money, according to a major survey.
The Sultanate has been ranked 5th in the savings sub category in the HSBC Expat Explorer survey, which includes views from nearly 27,000 people in 190 countries.
Oman was also voted among the top ten in the world in sub categories of work-life balance, politics, wage growth, disposable income and tolerance.
Residents in Oman enjoy a cheap cost of living with no personal income tax and many surveys have ranked Oman as one of the least expensive countries in the world. In 2016, Oman was ranked seventh least expensive country out of 112 nations surveyed by GoBankingrates.
According to Faisal Khan, the managing director of a mining firm that operates in Oman and the UAE, the difference in the cost of living when compared to other countries is tangible.
“Staying in Oman is a much cheaper option when compared to other countries around the world or even in the GCC. The most attractive part is the tax free salaries in Oman that aren’t significantly lower than other nations with a high cost of living,” he said.
“I think Oman is a great place to live when compared to neighbouring countries. It’s much cheaper in terms of nearly everything and salaries are quite decent,” said Ahmed Rehan, a businessman. Removal of fuel subsidies in 2016 and expected implementation of the value added tax in the country from 2018 as part of the efforts to crackdown on the soaring deficit are certain to have a direct effect on the spending power of the general population.
Some residents feel current austerity measures and declining salaries could bring down Oman’s rankings in the next few years.
“Several taxes are to be introduced in Oman while fuel prices have gone high and most companies are trying to renegotiate salaries. Although it is cheaper than in countries such as the UAE, Oman is surely not relatively as cheap as it was five years ago. I expect Oman’s ranking will fall when the survey results for this year are out,” said Nizam Mohiyudheen, a civil engineer.
Oman’s overall score average in the survey, which combines economic aspects, personal finance and careers, has improved from 50 per cent in 2015 to 51.2 per cent in 2016. Percentage of respondents happy with the work-life balance also increased from 64 per cent to 67.4 per cent.
Ninety four per cent of those surveyed in Oman also said they receive benefits as part of their employment packages. According to the survey, 91 per cent of expats living in the Middle East receive at least one benefit as part of their contracts, compared to the global average of 67per cent.
Switzerland maintained the first spot overall since the 2015 survey, followed by Germany and Sweden which secured the 2nd and 3rd place, respectively.
The UAE was ranked at number four, two places above their 2015 ranking. Oman was ranked 18th overall, four places below previous year’s ranking.
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