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Council of Ministers examines the economic-social agenda and approves new measures for the business sector


In the midst of the relentless battle carried out by the Cuban Government against COVID-19, with the active participation of our people, the Council of Ministers continued the analysis of various issues that make up the economic and social life of the country. Photo: Revolution Studies.

“Believing in the present of our country is the best way to conquer the future, and nobody and nothing can stop us, because love for Cuba mobilizes us all and fills us with hope and optimism in the midst of the most complex and difficult situations” .

This is how the President of the Republic, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, reflected during the ordinary session of the Council of Ministers, corresponding to the month of September, where he referred to the commendable battle that the nation is waging against COVID-19 and the way in which that the Government should resume the work systems, at all levels, even with the presence of the disease.

Failure – he asserted – will never be an option for the Revolution, and we are going to win and defend our independence, our sovereignty, without any interference, with the capacities and potential that we have in our people. That is what we call on at this time.

“Every thought that we have today for the good of the country, for the good of the Revolution, is a seed, therefore, to think as a country at the present time is to sow the future of Cuba,” said the Head of State when making the conclusions of the meeting of the highest government body, led by the Prime Minister, Manuel Marrero Cruz.

“Today Cuba is healthy, but, in addition, it is sowing the future. And we are certain that by working like this, there will be a tomorrow for Cuba, which lies in our building the present together, today, here and now.”

In a scenario in which it is vital to continue overcoming the new outbreak of the disease that has arisen in the Greater Antilles, Díaz-Canel insisted that at the same time we will be involved “in the design of the normal operation of the country, with realism, and recovering economic and social activity as much as possible, so that the economy, in a gradual and controlled way, is reactivated ” , in which several working groups are already working.

When commenting on the behavior of the epidemic in Cuba, which has impacted in various sectors as well as in the world, the president highlighted the marked difference that exists in the conditions in which we Cubans have experienced it, with indicators and figures much lower than those that are shown today internationally.

Consequently with this action, he valued, we have to deposit “in every conscious adult, in every conscious citizen of the country, the responsibility for his own fate and for that of his closest affections.” The work of the Government is essential – he declared – and, furthermore, it is “” to individual responsibility, family responsibility, community responsibility, collective responsibility.

The way in which we have worked so far, even in the midst of the new COVID-19 outbreak, has allowed our Public Health system not to collapse, the Cuban President acknowledged. Nor have we had to mourn the death of children or pregnant women and the numbers of infections among health personnel have been very low.

Coupled with these indisputable successes, in the course of these more than six months of confronting the epidemic, in Cuba tens of thousands of people have also been treated and offered wage guarantees who, in different situations, have had to remain isolated in their homes to protect your health or yours.

And all of this, the President of the Republic emphasized, has been done by “the State, the Government, the Revolution, with tremendous altruism in the midst of this situation; therefore, in Cuba the fate of all has been shared and the shared what we have had among all “.

Precisely from all our people has been the response in the midst of these complex days, in which our doctors, nurses, scientists, researchers, health personnel have been excellently involved, not only in Cuba, but also in different parts of the world , where they have gone through hard times and the results they obtain are placed at very high levels, he emphasized.

With immense satisfaction, the Head of State also highlighted how “our young people have given their own battle,” that is why we have to continue to trust them so much, he said. “And that speaks of a generation very committed to its time, to the present, and to the future of the Revolution.”

Likewise, he praised the efforts of Cubans who are not in the country today and have shown their commitment to their people, to their homeland, and have provided useful data and experiences so that we can continue to perfect our strategies, procedures and protocols to confront COVID -19.

Together with this, he highlighted the role of artisans, dressmakers and artists of different manifestations who have turned to the manufacture of nasobucos, and who placed their works on social networks to enliven our spirit in these complex times.

In his words, he distinguished the important role played by teachers, professors and staff of the nursery schools that never closed ; They have adhered not to reduce content and looked for the best ways to appropriate our students knowledge and desires to assume another way of learning, to which we were not used.

Thanks also to the members of the Ministry of the Interior and the Revolutionary Armed Forces , who have had to assume the most dissimilar tasks. As fair, he considered recognizing in the same way “the comrades of the Party and the Government in all the territories, who have assumed extraordinary challenges without rest.”

It is very important – the Head of State emphasized – that we all place ourselves in the gravity and complexity of the current moment, and also in all the forces and confidence that we have to face that reality victoriously, as the Cuban Revolution has always done.

In the case of Cuba, to this difficult context are added the financial persecution and hostile policy of the United States, which is getting worse and worse and promotes well-paid campaigns to discredit the Revolution, and viciously attack any opinion leader to defend us on social media.

“Our conviction will continue to be to resist, but in addition to resisting, advancing in all that we can, in what we have proposed to perfect our society and to defend the vision of the nation that we have shared,” said Díaz-Canel.

When commenting on the complicated economic situation in which the country is developing, and whose analysis focused the debates at the meeting of the Council of Ministers, the President of the Republic insisted on the need for a more immediate, more proactive, and more intense response , more creative, more intelligent, from all scenarios, taking advantage of our potentialities and the experiences of the revolutionary work, of life in Revolution.

It is the moment to unleash a movement where effort, perseverance and perseverance prevail, and where we are oriented, as we have already stated on other occasions, to unlocking everything that remains so that the productive forces finish unleashing themselves in the dimension we need, he emphasized.

The undeniable impact of COVID-19, he commented, has lengthened the return to normality in time and has had an impact on the economy and therefore on the expenditures of the State Budget based on the population, because from the first At the moment our essential purpose has been to save lives, and “by saving lives, we are saving the present and the future of the country.”
Economy in times of pandemic

In the current context, Cuba continues to pay attention to the economic and social issues of the country’s life. Hence, one of the main issues addressed at the meeting of the Council of Ministers was the behavior of the Cuban economy during 2019 and at the end of August of this year.

Regarding the past calendar, tempered by strong financial restrictions, the Deputy Prime Minister and Head of Economy and Planning, Alejandro Gil Fernández, commented that, in productive activity, investments have not grown with the necessary dynamics, an aspect to which special attention should be paid , Given the strategic priority of these sectors in reducing import dependency, food and energy sovereignty, and the country’s productive transformation.

To the real impact that the blockade imposed by the United States Government on Cuba leaves on our economic performance, there are also the internal problems that we have and that we are facing with the measures of the economic and social strategy. In this sense, he urged once again to continue working to increase national food production, substitute imports and take advantage of the potential that we still have in the most diverse sectors.

To those tensions with which we started 2020, he pointed out, the effects of COVID-19 were then added, from which, as our population has already been informed, it was necessary to make adjustments to the Economic Plan, taking into account the loss of export earnings; the impact on the importation of essential products; difficulties in accessing external financial sources and commercial credits; the impact on the productive levels of the state and non-state sectors and foreign investment; as well as the execution of a group of expenses not initially foreseen in the State Budget.

Until the end of August – he explained – the economy accounted for close to a billion pesos in expenses caused by the measures to combat the new coronavirus , and which are associated, fundamentally, with dissimilar expenses that the Budget has had to assume of the State, which in the period has also evidenced a contraction in income.

So far this year, he assured, some 366 million pesos have been registered in expenses for wage guarantees to workers who have had to stay home because of the new coronavirus and who have also financed the State Budget.

The economic and social strategy approved, he asserted, contains the main lines on which work should be concentrated from now on, first of all, to order the development of the economy and continue transforming our economic and social model.

In the world, economies have contracted; It is not something just ours, but we have to watch over what is ours, and create the conditions so that the negative impact is the least possible, especially in the face of the population, he stressed.
Other topics for analysis on the agenda

During the working session of the Council of Ministers, a set of measures was also approved to continue advancing in the improvement of state-owned companies. Offering a detailed explanation on the subject, the head of the Permanent Commission for Implementation and Development, Marino Murillo Jorge, commented that all the decisions that have been implemented so far tend to grant greater autonomy to companies and this last group makes more flexible in addition, the operation of the base business units.

Among other issues, the new measures are related to the destination of retained earnings after taxes, within which the distribution of them to workers is made more flexible, eliminating the limit of up to five average wages without conditioning it on compliance or overcompliance with the directive indicators; generalize to the entire business system the “payment for high performance”, which is currently a faculty of companies that apply Business Improvement , as well as allow retiring workers to be hired to occupy the same position as the one held at the time of obtaining pension, provided that it responds to the interest of the entity.

Similarly, Murillo Jorge specified that the powers are extended to the chiefs; The base business units that are determined prepare financial statements, pay taxes on profits and distribute profits, without having legal personality, establishing as a condition that the company assign part of its assets; the entity’s workers are authorized to hire outside of their working hours in certain services, different from those they perform according to their employment contracts; and where necessary and advisable, converting base business units that close production cycles into companies, totally or partially, or develop activities of a different nature within the same company, after analysis and substantiation by the President of the Higher Organization for Business Management.

Associated with these issues, the Prime Minister, Manuel Marrero Cruz, reflected on the need to take better advantage of the measures that have been approved in recent times to unleash the potential of our productive forces and strengthen companies.

We have to promote strong socialist state companies that substitute imports, not only of a finished product, but also of raw materials that allow us to close production cycles, and specify the much requested and necessary production chain, he stressed.

Another of the issues evaluated in the working day was the fulfillment of the Operation Port-Transportation-Internal Economy (Optei), during the first semester of 2020, a vital mechanism in the life and development of the nation due to the importance that for any country have cargo transportation.

Although the last few months, said the Minister of Transport, Eduardo Rodríguez Dávila, show a better gearing of these actions and therefore more efficient results in general, it is necessary to continue strengthening the role of Optei and recover the good practices of previous stages .

Later, it was learned about the economic effects caused to the country by irregularities that occurred in foreign trade operations , an issue that was exposed by the head of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz, and that is systematically evaluated by the Minister council.

The debate on this ministerial agenda also included an analysis of the illegalities that have been detected during this year in various territories and that affect land and urban planning. A reality that, as explained by the president of the Institute for Physical Planning, Samuel Rodiles Planas, still cannot be stopped, as events of this type continue to occur in different parts of the national territory and not in all cases they can be eliminated immediately.

Regarding this matter, the Prime Minister insisted on the priority that must continue to be addressed, because there are still many illegalities that have not been eradicated where natural persons are involved and for this a better functioning of the work systems is required. have been defined.
This battle is won at the level of the popular council, in the municipality, where it is necessary to join all the forces, all the institutions that in one way or another are related to the issue, which cannot be alien to anyone.

Also present at this session of the Council of Ministers were the Second Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, José Ramón Machado Ventura; the president of the National Assembly of People’s Power and the Council of State, Esteban Lazo Hernández, and the vice president of the Republic, Salvador Valdés Mesa.

(Yaima Puig Meneses)


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