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President Raul Castro Says Solution to Dual Currency cannot be prolonged

HAVANA, Cuba, Dec 21 (acn) Cuban President Raul Castro said on Thursday in Havana that the solution to the dual currency cannot be prolonged any longer and it will change the country.

During the Cuban leader's closing speech at the 10th ordinary period of sessions of the National Assembly in its 8th Legislature, he said that the elimination of the dual currency will not solve the economic problems, but will constitute a process that will advance the current economic model due to the impact it will have in all spheres of society.

Raul stressed that if this situation is not resolved it will be difficult to advance correctly. He also recognized that much has advanced in general and has overcome the existing problems relating to subsidies, wholesale and retail prices and tariffs, pensions and salaries in the state sector of the economy.

The Cuban Head of State added that no one can calculate the elevated cost for the State in the continued duality of the currency, favoring the unjust inverted pyramid.

He added that not all competent citizens are motivated in working legally due to the persistence of this abnormal situation, which also discourages people to accept leadership positions of the best and most capable workers, many of which migrate to other non-state sector.

Raul pointed out that a two percent GDP is expected for 2018 presupposing the efficient use of the financial and material resources available, increase the earnings from exports and a growth of the national production, in particular the food sector.

The GDP is a positive sign registering a growth of 1.6 percent in the current year, said Raul and added that this result is still not satisfying.

Next year will also be complicated for external finances of the country, he said, while ratified that Cuba will continue with its objective of gradually recovering international credibility in its national economy. Raul assured the creditors the will in complying with the commitments taken on in the different processes of reorganizing the foreign debt.

Raul called in consolidating the still incipient foreign investment in the economy, with superior outcomes this year and pointed out that the island cannot get around the effects of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba, recently reinforced by the current administration.

The President of the Council of State and Ministers insisted that Cuba will not renounce to the deployment and development of the different forms of non-state management in the economy and pointed out in the need to enforce for people to respect the law, secure positive results and confront illegalities and violations to the current policy.

He also referred to the damages of Hurricane Irma –the worst registered in the Atlantic- that inflicted damaged estimated at 13 billion 185 thousand Cuban pesos, which was calculated one on one to the US dollar.

For the first time the interruption of the national electrical system occurred, said the Cuban leader who highlighted the spirit of resistance of the people and the unity, discipline and solidarity expressed during the passing of the hurricane and recovery stage.

He added that the enormous effects of the hurricane in tourism installations were reestablished in only 62 days, mainly in the keys north of the central provinces, which were ready to offer services before the high tourism season began in mid-November.

The Cuban President reiterated that no one was left unattended before or after Hurricane Irma and to resolve the most complex of the problems which is housing, the government executed construction programs in the communities that were most affected and is a priority in the economy for 2018.

Raul reiterated the gratitude of the Cuban people for the international aid received and countless expressions of support from different parts of the world.

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