The experimental creation of non-agricultural cooperatives, the promotion of a new Tax System Act and the proposal to improve the Ministry of Agriculture stand out among the recent steps to update Cuba's economic model.
These actions are under the guidelines of the 16th Congress of the Communist Party -held in April 2011-, forum which established criteria for changes aimed to increase productivity and efficiency, as the principles of development on the island.
At an extended meeting of the Council of Ministers -held on March 31-, Vice President Marino Murillo presented the policy for starting experiments with farming cooperatives beyond the agricultural field, preserving in them the regulatory role of state and government.
Cooperatives make up the current model of economic management, along with the socialist state enterprise -main form in the national economy-, the foreign investment modes, small farmers, usufructuaries, tenants and private workers, who already number more than of 370 000.
This form of collective property with its own legal personality and assets is constituted by people who are associated and provide goods or labor to produce and serve, as sets one of the Party Congress guidelines.
During the extended meeting of the Council of Ministers, the Minister of Finance and Prices, Lina Pedraza, explained main adjustments for the forthcoming Tax System Act, considered one of the important actions for the economic update.
The proposed objective is to begin applying that standard on January 1, 2013, which includes the ability to change each year the taxes in the Budget Act, and also regulates tax benefits in order to stimulate the development of economic sectors and activities.
Another step involved in the ongoing update on the island responds to the need to improve the functioning, structure and composition of the Central Government entities.
In that sense, Vice President Murillo presented to the Council of Ministers the results of diagnosis practiced on the agriculture portfolio.
In general, the study concluded that the Ministry has been showing an unfavorable economic and financial situation for several years.
It also evidenced the inadequacy of actions and measures to reverse this scenario.
Speaking on the subject, President Raul Castro urged to fully analyze each problem prior to any change to fix it.
In the extended meeting was also discussed the improvement of the Ministry of Informatics and Communications from the viewpoint of separating state and corporate functions.
With regard to the issues discussed, Raul Castro stressed the role of them in the policy adopted by the island.
Today we discussed deep issues of great importance, which are slowly defining the way to go, he said.
The Cuban president meant that the implemented measures are supported by the resolutions of the 16th Congress of the Communist Party.
He also called on to be prepared for the possible variants, "because despite some progress being observed, the task ahead is huge."
ECONOMIC GROWTH EXCEEDING THE PROJECT
At the extended meeting of the Council of Ministers, some guidelines for the development of the Economy Plan and Budget 2013 were also approved.
According to the Minister of Economy and Planning, Adel Yzquierdo, the growth of gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to exceed 3.4 percent in 2012. This projection is, among other things, a set of energy-related investments, he said.
According Yzquierdo, most of the increase will be in productive activities, hence the leading role of industry and construction.
It is planned to maximize exports and to slow imports based on domestic industry means.
In that regard, he stressed the importance of prioritizing food production, achieving higher energy efficiency and supporting the marketing of agricultural inputs and construction materials, as well as sales to non-state forms of management.
Speaking of the private sector in the island, in recent months Cubans have registered for 180 more activities, standing out food sales, transportation of passengers and rental housing.
Around 370 000 people are incorporated into the so-called self-employment, which allows specialists project the figure of half a million by the end of 2012.
Government facilities put in place since October 2010 represent a stimulus to the non-state efforts. The extension of the authorized activities, the adjustments to the tax regime, the lease of premises and the steps in order to create a wholesale market stand out among the measures in this direction. (Prensa Latina).