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Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ economic freedom score is 66.9, making its economy the 49th freest of the 179 countries in the 2010 Index. The country’s rank has increased by 2.6 points since last year, reflecting improvements in five of the 10 economic freedoms.{{more}}

In the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom report was issued recently by The Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal. The 2010 Index is based primarily on data covering the period from July 2008 through June 2009.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines ranks 8th out of 29 countries in the South and Central America/Caribbean region, and its overall score is above the world average.

Economic reforms undertaken in recent years have helped Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to register one of the 15 highest increases in economic freedom in the 2010 Index, the report said.

Reduced individual and corporate income tax rates have enhanced fiscal competitiveness, and business formation and investment procedures have become more streamlined and efficient.

The report said, “In general, the judicial system is efficient. Punishments for official corruption are implemented effectively, although there is evidence that nepotism and corruption are prevalent in government contracting. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines scores poorly in financial freedom. Poor access to credit and the high costs of financing for entrepreneurial activity limit private-sector development and job growth.”

The ten economic freedoms which were assessed are Business Freedom, Trade Freedom, Fiscal Freedom, Government Spending, Monetary Freedom, Investment Freedom, Financial Freedom, Property Rights, Freedom from Corruption and Labour Freedom.

Hong Kong leads the index with a score of 89.7, the United States is 8th with a score of 78. Barbados is 40th with a score of 68.3, while Trinidad and Tobago ranks 55th with a score of 65.7. In 179th position is North Korea with a score of 1.0

Founded in 1973, the Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institute – a think tank – whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defence.

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