‘Zimbabwe one of worst economies for free enterprise’ – IEF

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BULAWAYO - Strife-torn Zimbabwe is one of the world's worst economies for business to operate in with blatant government interference restricting free enterprise, an international public policy research institute said on Tuesday.

United States based Heritage Foundation’s 2009 Index of Economic Freedom
(IEF) report released in New York slotted Zimbabwe on position 182 out of
183 countries surveyed, confirming the terrible state of the southern African country’s economy.

Heritage Foundation – a public policy research institute that champions free enterprise and limited government intervention – said North Korea was the world’s most restricted economy, followed by Zimbabwe, Cuba, Myanmar and Eritrea.

The IEF is a practical reference guide to the world’s economies that includes country-by-country analyses and the most up-to-date data available on foreign investment codes, taxes, tariffs, banking regulations, monetary policy and black markets.

The ratings are based on data collected between July 2007 and June 2008 and the countries are rated on a score of zero to 100.

The top slot went to Hong Kong for the 15th consecutive year with 90 points, followed by Singapore, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand.

South Africa with 63,8 points is the highly rated African economy.

Zimbabwe scored 22,7 points, 6,7 points less from the 29,4 tally it managed in 2008 when it sat on position 155.

Zimbabwe’s rankings fell in the last year following new restrictions on business and fiscal freedom and the world’s highest inflation now at over
231 million percent.

State interference in the monetary policies of the country saw the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe printing money at the instigation of the government, resulting in inflation shooting to record levels.

President Robert Mugabe’s government also interferes in the pricing of goods and services, a situation that has forced many companies to close shop leaving people jobless and facing starvation due to an acute shortage of basic commodities.

Heritage Foundation said in a statement accompanying the report that the top placed countries exhibited the highest form of economic freedom and realised state protection of business.

"The highest form of economic freedom provides an absolute right of property ownership, fully realised freedoms of movement for labour, capital and goods," said Heritage Foundation.

"In other words, individuals are free to work, produce, consume and invest in any way they please, and that freedom is both protected by the state and unconstrained by the state." – ZimOnline

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