Saturday, September 29, 2007
Given the official salaries of Ministers, its strange how their sons all seem to drive some pretty fine cars... And their relatives all seem incredibly good at doing business. In this, Oman is not unlike a lot of countries I guess. Did I hear you say 'Haliburton' for instance?
But, the recent flood of cash from high oil prices, and the resulting boom in Government funded business development [the Sohar industries, ports, construction, tourism, oil and gas investment] has obviously had an impact. Where there is a river of cash, someone will fish it. There is also increasingly aggressive involvement of less scupulous countries, especially China, with senior Omani Government officials. In some cases its extremely blatent. More on that soon.
However, as His Majesty reacted when asked about corrupt Ministers and why he didn't replace them "It is better to have a fat rat than a skinny rat". A wise man indeed.
But for now, it's not just me who's noticed things are getting worse:
The Undercover dragon...
Recently published in Arabian Business.com:
Thursday, 27 September 2007 00:07 UAE time
Middle East corruption escalatesby Dylan Bowman on Thursday, 27 September 2007 The level of corruption in Bahrain, Oman and Jordan has significantly worsened over the last year, anti-corruption coalition Transparency International said on Wednesday.
In its 2007 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), the organisation lumped the Middle East nations in with other countries such as Thailand, Laos and Papua New Guinea as experiencing a serious rise in dishonesty within the public sector.
“Countries with a significant worsening in perceived levels of corruption in 2007 include Austria, Bahrain, Belize, Bhutan, Jordan, Laos, Macao, Malta, Mauritius, Oman, Papua New Guinea and Thailand,” Transparency International stated.
The index ranks the degree of public sector corruption as perceived by business people and country analysts between zero and 10, with 10 being the least corrupt.
Bahrain saw its CPI score drop from 5.7 last year to 5.0 this year, putting it in 46th place along with Costa Rica and Bhutan out of 180 countries ranked in the survey. Oman and Jordan were both placed in 53rd place alongside Mauritius with a CPI score of 4.7. In 2006 Oman and Jordan had a score of 5.4 and 5.3 respectively.
No specific reasons were given for the rise in corruption in the countries.
The UAE and Qatar were judged the least corrupt countries in the region, being ranked 32nd and 34th respectively. However, the UAE saw its CPI score drop from 6.2 in 2006 to 5.7 this year, while Qatar’s score remained at 6.0.
Transparency International put Saudi Arabia as the most corrupt Gulf country in 79th position on a score of 3.4, while it judged Syria the Middle East nation with the highest level of corruption, giving the country as score of just 2.4 and placing it 138th. The least corrupt countries on the list were New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, Singapore and Sweden.
The countries with the highest levels of corruption were Somalia and Myanmar. Transparency International said there is a strong correlation between corruption and poverty.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Muscat, Oman. A great city. A city with secrets. I hope to entertain you with stories of this country and the wider events in the media, and by sharing my opinion on life here and the world in general.
At the moment the blog thing is new to me, and right now I feel newly born, just having struggled out of my shell, sort-of groggy, wondering where the hell I am. I'll start to flex my wings soon. Good morning Muscat!