Tags: Cuba | business | jobs | trade | embargo | private | socialism

Cuba Curbs Small Business Restrictions to Spur Economy

a women in a mask with a bike walks past a fidel castro poster.
In Havana, Cuba, a woman wearing a face mask walks past a poster depicting Fidel Castro that says 'Revolution is changing everything that needs to be changed,' on January 21, 2021. (Yamil Lage/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Sunday, 07 February 2021 09:28 AM

An economic slump has the Cuban government cutting its small business restrictions on private businesses in an effort to spur growth and create jobs.

The list of activities permitted will expand from 127 to more than 2,000, according to Cuban Labor Minister Marta Elena Feito Cabrera at a council of ministers meeting that approved the policy.

There would still be 124 exceptions, Reuters reported.

The move was long called for by Cuban economic reformists to help kick-start the socialist country.

"The self-employed are not going to have it easy in this new beginning due to the complex environment in which they will operate, with few dollars and inputs in the economy," Pavel Vidal, a former Cuban central bank economist who teaches at Colombia's Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Cali, told Reuters.

"But with the ingenuity of the Cuban and the sophistication of the parallel market, they will be able to take off little by little."

The economy has stagnated for years and contracted by 11% last year, due to a combination of the coronavirus pandemic that devastated tourism and tough U.S. sanctions. Cubans have been dealing with a scarcity of basic goods and endless lines to obtain them.

The crisis has forced a series of long promised but stalled reforms, from devaluation of the peso and reorganization of the monetary system to some deregulation of state businesses and foreign investment.

President Miguel Diaz-Canel said the moves are needed for "the improvement of the non-state sector, with immediate priority in the expansion of self-employment and removal of obstacles."

Those non-state fields reformed include small private businesses and cooperatives -- employees, artisans, taxi drivers, and tradesmen — which make up 13% of Cuba's labor force and 600,000 jobs, according to the labor minister. Agriculture with its hundreds of thousands of small farms, thousands of cooperative and day laborers will remain state-run.

Information from Reuters was used in this report.

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Politics
An economic slump has the Cuban government cutting its small business restrictions on private businesses in an effort to spur growth and create jobs.The list of activities permitted will expand from 127 to more than 2,000, ...
business, jobs, trade, embargo, private, socialism
315
2021-28-07
Sunday, 07 February 2021 09:28 AM
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