News »

A review of economic results and projections to continue advancing

PCC CongresoPCC CongresoWe have not been detained in the search for solutions to current problems, nor have we given up on future projects; the National Economic and Social Development Plan through 2030 has been prepared and progress is being made on implementation of the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines

Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, in April of 2010, stated, “The economic battle constitutes today, more than ever, the principal task and the center of cadres’ ideological work, because the sustainability and preservation of our social system depend on it,” thus defining the changes in Cuba’s economy that would be undertaken from that point on.

Precisely these transformations and the difficulties faced, were the focus of delegates to the 8th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, in Commission No.1 chaired by Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz, on Friday.

The meeting was also attended by Political Bureau members Esteban Lazo Hernández, president of the National Assembly of People’s Power and the Council of State; Salvador Valdés Mesa, vice president of the Republic; Ramiro Valdés Menéndez, deputy prime minister, and Ulises Guilarte de Nacimiento, secretary general of the Cuban Workers Federation, among other Party and the government leaders.

Referring to the complex context within the country, Marrero Cruz first addressed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the tightening of the blockade, aggravated with more than 240 additional measures imposed by the United States, alongside a campaign to discredit the Revolution and the work of the Cuban government.

Nonetheless, despite the difficult scenario, he insisted that we have not been detained in the search for solutions to current problems, nor have we given up on future projects; the National Economic and Social Development Plan through 2030 has been prepared and progress is being made on implementation of the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines.

The concrete expression of these accomplishments, he stated, lies in the approved Economic and Social Strategy, with 319 measures meant to boost the economy and limit the effects of the world crisis caused by the pandemic.

In 2021, the Prime Minister noted, the situation is no less difficult and, based on the experiences of 2020, priorities were established, including, of course, the battle against COVID-19.

Having a strong health system, the work of Fidel, has allowed us, he said, to implement an action plan and obtain positive results, thanks to the meritorious role of health personnel, scientists, youth and the people.

Despite this, the appearance of new strains with a higher level of transmission, along with cases of non-compliance with established protocols, have made controlling the current outbreak difficult, with the principal problem areas located in the provinces of Pinar del Río, Havana, Matanzas, Sancti Spíritus, Granma and Santiago de Cuba, Marrero Cruz reported.

The five candidate vaccines developed by Cuba, two in phase III clinical trials and showing positive results, were highlighted, but the Prime Minister insisted that strict compliance with established procedures is what will allow us to contain the outbreak that has left regrettable losses of human life and millions of pesos in expenses.

Monetary re-ordering, continuing to pave the way

Regarding the implementation of the Re-ordering Task, he reiterated that, as already reported, more favorable conditions are being created to advance in the solution of macroeconomic problems that impact the performance of the economy, and, as one of the positive effects, he noted that more than 150,000 individuals have sought job offers.

He noted, however, that errors were committed, both in design and implementation, which have generated concern within the population.

The fundamental problem, according to Marrero Cruz, continues to be high prices of basic products and services, caused primarily by demand that is higher than supply, leading to dissatisfaction among workers in lower salary scales.

After discussing problems presented, he noted that new legal norms have been established, which are providing answers. He also stressed that necessary adjustments will continue until implementation of the re-ordering is consolidated and objectives for which it was designed are achieved.

Another highly sensitive issue addressed was food production. Agriculture, the minister acknowledged, has not reached the level of production needed to satisfy the population’s demand, a matter that is not only a priority but, as Raúl stated, a national security issue.

He outlined measures recently approved, directed toward increasing food production, 30 are considered high priority, and several are to be implemented immediately.

All this, Prime Minister Marrero stated, “will allow us to achieve more efficient commercialization, at fair prices, and to improve Cuba’s agricultural system, to ensure consistent production of food.”

With respect to the performance of different economic actors, he emphasized the unprecedented expansion of self-employment, which has evolved from a short list of authorized activities to a one of activities that are not permitted, thus opening up the possibility of performing several types of work as part of one project, with a single license.

This measure, he emphasized, will contribute to identifying solutions to the population’s unsatisfied needs and have an impact on recently approved local development policy.

Now is the time, he said, to make sure the new policy is implemented correctly, which will require great effort on the part of municipal authorities, who will be responsible for processing, approval and supervision of projects.

Likewise, Marrero reported that a final evaluation is underway of errors committed in the non-agricultural cooperatives experimental pilot project, which will lead to a gradual expansion of this form of economic management.

He additionally noted that progress has been made in the study of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, for which a policy that foresees the participation of both the state and private sectors has been approved, and legal norms are in the process of being drafted, which must be approved first by the Political Bureau.

He also stressed that these forms of management will always be a complement to the socialist state enterprise, which is the principal actor within the national economy.

In fact, with a view toward consolidating an innovative, efficient state enterprise system that produces high quality goods and services, 28 measures were approved in a first stage, with the purpose of eliminating obstacles and granting enterprises more authority. Recently added to these were another 15, including regulations which have already been endorsed by the Council of State.

Despite the provisions adopted, Marrero stated, shortcomings in the functioning of enterprises continue. These measures and monetary re-ordering regulations place the socialist state enterprise on equal footing with all other economic actors, and eliminate any excuse for not playing its role in the national economy.

As an essential requirement, the implementation and sustainability of all these decisions demand, in the words of the Prime Minister, “capable cadres, with deep political-ideological convictions, full confidence in the future and aware that revolutionaries, no matter how complex the challenges may be, will always rise to the occasion.”

Charting the course for the next five years

Referring to the work carried out by Commission No.1, prior to the 8th Congress, Marrero emphasized the analysis conducted of economic-social results achieved to date, and projections to continue advancing.

The Commission, he recalled, organized itself in three work teams that examined the documents to be submitted for Congress delegates for approval, gathering more than 360 opinions on these texts:

- Implementation status of Economic and Social Policy Guidelines of the Party and the Revolution.

- Proposal to update the Conceptualization of Cuba’s Economic and Social Model.

- Proposal for updating Policy Guidelines for the period 2021-2026.

- Review of the economy during the five-year period 2016-2020.

The work sessions that preceded Congress, Marrero stated, allowed delegates to update and enrich the texts that, once adopted, will chart the course to be followed over the next five years.

Advances and challenges in updating the Cuban model

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Planning Alejandro Gil Fernández was responsible for presentation of a review of the national economy’s principal indicators and results during the five-year period prior to the 8th Congress.

Likewise, Marino Murillo Jorge, Political Bureau member and head of the Permanent Commission for Implementation and Development, presented to the commission a report on the status of implementation of Policy Guidelines and an evaluation of work done since the 6th Congress, in terms of updating the Cuban economic and social model. He reported that 54 opinions were received regarding this document and approved policies.

In the context of the updating of Cuba’s Economic and Social Model, 244 policies with a variety of objectives, scope and impact have been approved. To this total, 83 were added. Since these constituted updates of previously approved policies, the total was reduced to 161, for the purposes of the evaluation.

The approved policies were grouped in three categories. The first included those which had positive results and achieved their purpose; the second those that partially achieved their purpose; and a third category of those with negative results which did not achieve their purpose.

In figures:

- First category: 52 policies.

- Second category: 41 policies.

- Third category: 12 policies.

- Not evaluated: 56 policies which have not been approved; lack the legal norms needed for their implementation; or were only recently approved.

The level of implementation of the 274 Guidelines approved at the 7th Congress was also evaluated. According to the analysis, 82 Guidelines (30%) were implemented; 109 (40%) are in the process of implementation; 83 (30%) are in the proposal or approval stage; while none have not been implemented.

The launching the monetary reordering task has contributed, to a large extent, to the progress of the Economic and Social Model Update, with an impact on 57 Guidelines, based on revisions made since the beginning of their implementation and the progress of certain programs.

The principal achievements of the Re-ordering Task, in its initial stages, include currency and exchange rate unification; the general reform, of salaries, pensions and benefits; the reduction of undue subsidies and gratuities to the extent that economic conditions have allowed; an increase in the number of those seeking employment; decentralization of authority to set prices and their establishment ,starting with the definition of maximum limits and their transfer to agencies, the enterprise system and local governments; the beginning of the complex process of price correction; greater demand from the population and entities regarding the quality/price relation of some products and services; and progress in exchanging CUC for CUP, as projected.

The Re-ordering Task, however, has not been exempt from problems which have had a negative impact on a large portion of the Cuban population. Among those identified are the following:

- Establishment of excessive prices, both by state entities and by other economic actors, which have impacted productive activity. They have also caused, actually or potentially, an impact on the purchasing power of part of the population.

- Inadequacies in the state enterprise system and other forms of production existent prior to the Re-ordering Task, and the tendency to raise prices to mitigate these.

- The lack of quality, despite higher prices, of some products and services, which in many cases were previously subsidized and accepted, given their low cost.

- Dissatisfaction with new salaries and income, as well as changes in payment systems.

Overcoming obstacles to the implementation of Policy Guidelines

During debate of the report’s content, delegates presented opinions and recommendations on critical issues that have affected successful progress in the updating of the Cuban model.

One of the topics addressed was the local development policy, emphasized by Carlos César Torres Páez, an invited guest from Pinar del Río, who proposed that the document include a report on progress made by the country in this arena, given its impact on the economic and social development of territories.

Ana Teresa Igarza, delegate for Artemisa, noted as a deficiency the delay in approval of legal norms needed to implement policies. Regarding this point, Marrero acknowledged that this has been one of the obstacles that has negatively affected implementation, and stated that work will be done to ensure that the policies are announced with their respective legal norms.

(Taken from Granma)

Make a comment

Your email address will not be published. The mandatory fields are marked. *