Belarus is rated the 150th freest economy among 179 states in the 2010 Index released by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal earlier this week.
Belarus’ freedom score climbed by 3.7 to 48.7 on the 0 to 100 Index scale.
"The persistence of Soviet-era policies and practices continues to deny Belarus the benefits of economic freedom enjoyed in most other former Soviet republics, although its low score has improved by 3.7 points after four years of decline," the report says.
Belarus is ranked 42nd among the 43 countries in the Europe region.
Reforms undertaken to reduce regulatory costs and enhance the business and investment climate have led to improved business freedom and labor freedom scores, according to the Heritage Foundation. Most of Belarus’ 10 economic freedom scores, however, are considerably lower than world averages.
"Belarus’s economy is still characterized by pervasive state involvement and control," the report says. "Restructuring is very slow, and the small private sector remains marginalized. Though tax rates are moderate, there is no comprehensive tax code. Regulations are confusing and applied unevenly. Financial freedom, investment freedom, property rights, and freedom from corruption are 20–40 points below world averages. The government controls many financial institutions, directly or partially. Besides insecure property rights and corruption, foreign investment faces restrictions and bureaucratic inefficiency."
After Hong Kong and Singapore, the Heritage Foundation ranked Australia as the world`s third freest economy, followed by New Zealand, Ireland, Switzerland, Canada, the United States, Denmark and Chile. It ranked North Korea as the world`s most economically repressed country. Zimbabwe, Cuba, Eritrea and Burma are also at the bottom of the chart.