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    New measures approved to recover the Cuban economy

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    With the aim of recovering the Cuban economy, some 75 measures were approved aimed, among other things, at increasing foreign exchange earnings and increasing and diversifying exports, reported the Minister of Economy and Planning, Alejandro Gil Fernández, when speaking in the ninth period regular session of Parliament in its ninth legislature.

    Aprueban nuevas medidas para recuperar la economía cubana

    Some of the announced measures:

    Identify all the possibilities to increase foreign exchange earnings and implement the corresponding actions.

    Promote national, industrial and agricultural production to substitute imports in tourism.

    "Right now we have a recovery in tourism, but if our industry cannot respond to that demand, we end up importing more than we have to import," he said.

    The Cuban deputy prime minister also called for greater linkages with national producers.

    "You have to increase foreign currency income, but keep it in the country," he said, and stressed the importance of implementing a program to gradually reduce the budget deficit and achieve the country's internal financial balance.

    "There is no way to face inflationary processes if we do not face the magnitude of the fiscal deficit," Gil Fernández warned.

    He commented that the employment scale in the budgeted sector is still above its level, and mentioned other actions necessary to promote the national economic scenario and its reflection in the social sphere, among them:

    Implement measures to increase revenue collection in the municipalities.

    Resize the budgeted sector.

    Improve the identification, selection and prioritized attention to people, families, households and communities in situations of vulnerability with comprehensive action protocols and stop the reproduction of negative behavior patterns.

    Continue consolidating the work in the neighborhoods.

    Evaluate voucher systems for people in vulnerable situations.

    Increase the breeding of species not dependent on feed, in water ponds on land, for their development and fattening.

    Stimulate electronic commerce. Authorize the Cuba Post Office Business Group for cross-border electronic commerce in the import-export modality.

    Products offered by foreign and national suppliers will be marketed in the country, under the consignment sales modality.

    Implement a new scheme for access and allocation of foreign currency for state and mixed entities.

    Continue expanding the secondary foreign exchange allocation scheme for state and non-state economic actors.Increase the emergence of export-oriented state MSMEs.

    Encourage state companies, from their profits, to dedicate financing to the construction of housing for their workers.

    Advancing in the constitution of mixed state-private companies.

    Establish the regulatory framework for foreign investment with the non-state sector.

    Stimulating, from the new forms of non-state management, the development of dry-cleaning services, lavatines, light food services to take away and other support services for families.

    "Everything we do in that direction is positive," said the minister, referring to the need to stimulate SMEs that solve population problems.

    They make the importation by natural persons with a non-commercial character more flexible.

    Among the more than 70 measures approved to advance the recovery of the economy, Gil Fernández announced the relaxation of imports by natural persons on a non-commercial basis.

    The minister commented that although they have received proposals to stimulate imports on a commercial basis, "it is not convenient at the moment."

    The relaxation of importation by natural persons with a non-commercial nature includes:

    Define the non-commercial nature of the importation of sundries by their value and weight and by the diversity of the articles to be imported, and not by the physical quantities.

    Increase the amount of allowed importing items. For example: cell phones, computers, tablets, tires and rims.

    Rise the import limit through shipments from 10 kg to 20 kg.

    Reduce the value of the imported kilogram from 20 USD to 10 USD and increase the exemption from payment from 1.5 kg to 3 kg for the articles to which the value-weight is applied.

    Decrease 70% of the customs tax payment (currently it is 100%, it is reduced to 30%).

    They will implement a new exchange market for the sale of foreign currency to the population.

    The Minister of Economy and Planning announced that a foreign exchange market will be implemented for the sale of foreign currency to the population with an exchange rate "economically based and where we can work with all currencies, including dollars in cash."

    International travelers will also be able to access this market with differentiated prices at the official exchange rate and that will allow the State to capture the currencies that are circulating in the economy.

    The minister said that the details for the implementation of this measure are being finalized and its risks have been evaluated, the actions to minimize them and the possible ways to use that currency capacity that is not part of the national financial system in order to increase the offer in Cuban pesos.

    The Cuban pesos that are obtained by exchanging currencies must guarantee purchasing capacity, otherwise there are no incentives to make that exchange, he pointed out.

    To explain the relevance of the measure, Gil Fernández commented that, although "the economy has been, humbly, showing signs of recovery, an illegal currency trading market has been proliferating in the country."

    He specified that “this has a cost in inflation, because it affects prices.

    The exchange rate is at 120, it goes up, it goes down," he said, acknowledging that there is "a missing piece, which is the inexistence of a formal currency trading market."

    He argued that in this scenario, an unofficial market that is practically imposing the prices of products and services and of the foreign exchange that enters, that are not being captured by the State and are feeding that illegal market, cannot continue to proliferate.

    The Minister of Economy and Planning reiterated that the conditions that led the country not to accept the dollar in cash are maintained, taking into account that the prohibitions imposed by the US blockade remain in force.

    “None of these measures is risk-free or magical, nor does it generate by itself, as of Monday, an increase in offers in stores,” he clarified.

    However, he pointed out, "decisions adjusted to reality are being made, in accordance with our socialist model and that order the legality of the country and allow us to have resources to gradually increase the offers in Cuban pesos to our people and for the attention to people and communities in vulnerable situations.

    The announcement of the measure that seeks to "restore the foreign currency trading market in the country" was applauded by the deputies.

    At the end, Gil Fernández ratified the purpose of achieving a greater presence of foreign investment in the wholesale and retail market, and advancing in the levels of supply.

    The compendium of measures announced to deputies includes:Stimulate the sale of solar panels to both natural and legal persons.

    Evaluate the feasibility of measures already approved that have not had the expected result.

    Incorporate the new high-consuming economic actors from the non-state sector into the analyzes of the energy councils.

    Increase the production and use of biofuels, biogas, and fuel emulsions in transportation, food processing and energy generation, and increase production in natural medicine.

    Organize the use of state transport in support of public passenger transport.

    Evaluate the relevance of reactivating the movement of microbrigades as an alternative to advance in the solution of the needs of the population.

    Adjust activity plans based on reducing attendance, minimizing meetings and reducing expenses.

    Resume productive days with the participation of the people, contingents to produce food where appropriate and profitable.

    Gil Fernández stopped at one of the announced measures regarding the expansion of the secondary foreign exchange allocation scheme for state and non-state economic actors.

    He warned that the country cannot be dollarized and pointed out that the secondary foreign exchange allocation scheme has already begun, although in a limited way, "because the sources are limited."