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Cuban Economy Keeps Improving Despite US Blockade

  • Written by acn
  • Published in local news
HAVANA, Cuba, Dec 7 (acn) Cuban economy will continue to improve despite the US blockade, external financial restrictions and the international situation, said Economy minister Marino Murillo as he submitted the 2015 Economic Plan at a meeting of the Council of Ministers presided over by President Raul Castro.

A report on Granma newspaper explains that the plan aims at boosting efficiency, encourage the performance of key economic sectors, the growth of investment in production and infrastructure in particular and to maintain basic social services.

The country´s Gross Domestic Product is estimated to reach 1.3 percent this year, below the expected 2.2 percent, but it could grow little over 4 percent in 2015 with major results in the manufacturing industry, construction, trade, agriculture, ranching and forestry, the minister said.

As to food imports, the country plans to increase by 137 million dollars the budget dedicated to purchasing foodstuffs at the international market, which sets the figure at 2.1 billion, particularly in staples like soybeans, potato seeds, wheat and flour.

Investment will increase to 7 billion 159 million dollars, over a total of 1 billion 595 million in 2014, the minister explained and went on to say that by the end of this year employment will keep at 2 percent over the expected figure thanks to the growing non-state sector, and the average salary will also grow 9.1 percent following increases in the areas of health and sports, and foreign investment projects over the past quarter of the year.

The non-state sector will continue to grow next year, particularly due to the transfer of catering and other services to private management modalities.

The most important issue this year has been paving the way for the elimination of the dual currency, said Marino Murillo, who referred to the expansion of purchase in the two currencies at hard-currency retail shops throughout the country.

The minister also said that by late September over 476 thousand citizens had joined self-employment.

In the meantime, the country’s tourism industry continues to grow. In October 187, 311 tourists arrived in Cuba, representing a growth of 11.5 percent over the same month of 2013, reported the Cuban National Bureau of Statistics and Information (ONEI).

This significant increase supports the expectations of the Ministry of Tourism (Tourism) that the 2014 winter season would be very favorable with respect to the previous year, and Cuba would achieve the longed figure of three million visitors at year´s end.

According to the report, from January to October two million 410,785 people traveled to Cuba, balance that exceeds by 4.3 percent what was recorded in that period of 2013.

Canada, which largely leads the list of main source of tourists to Cuba, in October grew by more than 14 percent, and increases by five per cent in the year to date, with 949,644 visitors.

That country is followed by Germany, England, Italy, France and Mexico as the markets from which the largest number of tourists comes to the Antillean archipelago.

With a 73.2 percent increase so far this year, Venezuela stands out among the fastest growing nations in the period, like China (29 percent) and Germany (15.5 percent), ONEI reported.

Of all tourists, six thousand 197 arrived aboard cruise ships to the Caribbean nation, a figure that should increase significantly between November 2014 and March 2015, a period in which Cuba will receive more than 200 entries of vessels.

Last modified onSunday, 07 December 2014 08:29