HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 28 (ACN) Alejandro Gil Fernández, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Planning of Cuba, affirmed today that implementing the Economic-Social Strategy with results constitutes at this time the highest priority task in the Cuban economy.
Speaking at the Fifth Regular Session of the National Assembly of People's Power in its Ninth Legislature and in the presence of Army General Raúl Castro, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, and President Miguel Díaz-Canel, he explained that these are profound transformations that must be implemented with innovation.
In what has been done so far, the minister said, the role played by universities and scientific centers has been decisive and the government's will is to advance with determination in the two remaining months of the year.
He recalled that in 2020, the Cuban economy has had to face the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its income and a tightening of the US blockade, as a result of which more than 130 measures have been implemented and the damage exceeds five billion dollars in one year for the first time in history.
To address this complex context, the Council of Ministers approved the Economic and Social Strategy in July, and its implementation began from that very moment.
The Deputy Prime Minister noted that progress has been made in the 16 key areas of the Strategy, and in terms of food production he highlighted the authorization to hire people who are not self-employed, as a workforce at the peak of the harvest.
He mentioned the bonus with a tax rate of five percent of the sales tax payment to municipal and provincial trade and gastronomy companies, as well as the rest of the entities, for the retail sale of food production from mini-industries.
In addition, he said, the Logistics Business Group began sales in freely convertible currency to the productive base of the agricultural sector of agricultural inputs and equipment and the policy proposal for the commercialization of agricultural products has been prepared and will be presented in the next few days for evaluation by the Council of Ministers.
With respect to the increase and incentive to exports, he noted that 196 contracts have been signed - 15 for exports and 181 for imports - and there are possibilities in the short term to sign another 90 export contracts, which also reflects the incentives to favor this activity that appear in Resolution 222 of the Ministry of Finance and Prices.
In order to strengthen the state-owned enterprise, 15 measures were recently approved to give it greater autonomy and eliminate obstacles, while work continues on others such as the establishment of micro, small and medium enterprises.
Similarly, a new system of foreign exchange allocation was initiated and is being gradually implemented, which is more decentralized and favors business management and productive linkages. As of October 23, 142 companies had joined the system, 126 of them state-owned and 16 mixed.
Gil Fernández informed the congressmen present at the Convention Palace and those who participate by videoconference from their provinces that the Territorial Development Policy was approved, in order for them to have the necessary autonomy and be sustainable, and he advanced that work is being done on the elaboration and updating of municipal development strategies.
Regarding the process of monetary regulation, he said that they are in the phase of preparing the conditions for its implementation.
Another area of vital importance is the computerization of society, about which he emphasized that progress has been made in several of the tasks foreseen in the Strategy, such as new computer applications, the advance of digital television and electronic payments.
He also referred to the transformation of the state gastronomy and explained that 73 units were selected in which a new state management model will be implemented, in a first stage, until December, with greater commercial, economic and financial autonomy.
This model will continue to be expanded and different forms of management will have to coexist in gastronomy, added the Cuban Minister of Economy.
In November, state automotive workshops will start providing services self-employed workers, and it is expected that before the end of the year, state entities will provide the service of leasing means of transportation to private companies, which will favor the performance of different productive forms of agriculture and other sectors.
Gil Fernández explained that the transition from budgeted to business activities will also be encouraged, for which reason we have worked with the organizations and have a program available until the first half of 2021 that includes entities in the fundamental areas of sports, culture and science.