Cuban Gov. Presents “Favorable” Stats

July 7, 2013 | Print Print |

Plumber

HAVANA TIMES — The Cuban government said on Saturday it is satisfied by the “favorable performance” of the island’s economy in the first half of the year, despite a “slowdown” overall and increased unemployment.

An optimistic minister of the economy, Adel Yzquierdo, painted a “favorable” picture of developments in the island’s centrally planned economy, but pointed to a general decline and reduced growth estimates for this year, in an address to the Cuban parliament.

Yzquierdo presented the legislature with economic performance figures for the first half of 2013. President Raul Castro was also present.

According to the figures, employment in the emerging private sector in Cuba continued to grow in the first half of 2013 while the state sector fell.

Unemployment is expected to grow by 4.2 percent in the state sector in the first half of the year, compared with a growth figure of 8.8 percent in the private sector, according to Yzquierdo’s report.

The forecasts, however, point to a general increase in unemployment because the expected growth in the self employed sector was not reached “, noted Prensa Latina.

The island currently has 400,000 people working in the private sector, the so-called “self-employed”. Over recent years, the government of Raul Castro is implementing a program of economic reforms with market elements that have allowed for an opening of some less specialized trades to private work.

The medium-term goal is the progressive reduction of half a million jobs in the bloated state sector, as announced by the government in 2010.

Many of the “self-employed” registered so far, however, are retired or keep their jobs in the state sector while trying to obtain a little other income.

Candy Seller

Candy Seller

The economy showed an overall a “favorable performance”, said Yzquierdo. Almost all sectors recorded growth, “including trade, transport, communications and manufacturing,” he noted.

Yzquierdo said the Cuban trade balance was positive at the end of the first quarter and pointed to a similar trend for year-end. At the same time, he spoke of a “slowdown” in the global economic situation.

Cuba recently reduced its forecasts for annual growth in 2013 from the 3.6 percent initially estimated to somewhere between 2.5 and 3.0 percent. He emphasized that the evolution of gross domestic product (GDP) has been influenced by the crisis in the international arena.

In the first semester, the island’s economy grew 2.3 percent, according Yzquierdo, despite “external stress”, the “internal weaknesses” and the effects of Hurricane “Sandy”, which swept across the east of Cuba in October 2012.

“Sandy” affected 11 provinces and caused losses of almost 7 billion dollars, according to the minister.

The inaugural session of the eighth legislature of the National Assembly of People’s Power closes on, Sunday. Raul Castro is expected to pronounce in a speech to the parliament.

In a Communist Party Central Committee meeting last week, Castro came down hard on what he called “indiscipline and illegalities” in the State apparatus. He will most likely refer to the fight against corruption, one of the banner efforts of his administration.


What's your opinion?

  • Moses Patterson

    This is kinda’ sad. No one who has been to Cuba is optimistic about Cuba’s future. This speech is just more of the same crap the Castro’s have spewed over the last 15 or so years while more and more buildings collapse and more and more young people plot their escape. The truth is “La China” himself is trying to hold on another 5 years or until he loses complete control of his bladder, whichever comes first.

    • Brrr

      “No one who has been to Cuba is optimistic about Cuba’s future.”

      I go there every year. Things have improved dramatically every time I return.

      • Moses Patterson

        Really? The roads are better now. More buildings have been rehabilitated? Public health care has improved? Agricultural production has improved? There are more items on store shelves? Really? Or are you referring to the fact that Cubans with access to hard currency can now purchase homes and cars. There are more cell phones. Cubans with visas and the money to travel are able to do so more easily. Exactly what do you mean when you say “improved dramatically”? Because for Cubans who live in Cuba, this is not the case.

        • Brrr

          “The roads are better now. More buildings have been rehabilitated? Public health care has improved? Agricultural production has improved? There are more items on store shelves? Really?”

          Yes, yes, yes, yes. Absolutely. It’s a night and day difference over the past 4-5 years.

          • Moses Patterson

            Dream on. You are the only one who thinks any of these and many more fundamental measures of the quality of life in Cuba have improved.

          • Brrr

            It doesn’t matter what I think, I’m talking about differences you can see. New infrastructure, new housing, renovations, etc are happening all over the island.

            And the stores? I saw well stocked stores in February in a way I thought I’d never see in Cuba. Bicycles, shoes, clothes, electronics, appliances, furniture, hardware, and lots of food. And Cubans were definitely shopping there.

            It’s not just a little better, it’s unbelievably better than it was just a few years ago. I spent a fair bit of time on a farm, discussing the how much the changes in agriculture policy, and land ownership have helped not just the farmer who owned the farm, but also all the people he hired to work on it, and the people in the nearby towns who had access to his products. They sure seemed to be happy.

            Now to be fair, what you see is obviously going to depend on where you go. I haven’t been to the west end of the Island since 2010, so I have not seen what’s going on in the Havana-to-Varadero tourist trap. I does seem to me that the most east you go, the better things get.

  • Brrr

    My perspective does come from the time I’ve spent with “real” Cubans.

    Of course there is a lot to be done, I’m not in any way claiming things are perfect. My point is a lot more is being done now than there was just a few years ago, and that the improvements are substantial.