Havana, Dec 19 (ACN) Cuba forecasts for next year a growth of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at current prices of around one percent, which coincides with the projections for the first stage (2019-2021) of the National Economic and Social Development Plan until 2030.
Alejandro Gil Fernández, Minister of Economy and Planning, said today to deputies of the Cuban Parliament, meeting at the Havana Convention Center, that although the conditions are not the same, this goal will not be given up and will be achieved through seeking alternatives.
In the presence of Miguel Díaz-Canel, President of the Republic, and Esteban Lazo, President of the Cuban Parliament, he announced that by 2020 exports are estimated to grow by 3.7 percent due to better performance of tourism, and products such as nickel, tobacco, sugar, rum, charcoal, honey and biopharmaceuticals.
It is expected that 4.5 million international visitors will arrive and tourism revenues will grow with an occupancy rate of 53 percent, he reported.
This is the driving force of the Cuban economy, so there is a commitment to increase quality and competitiveness by reducing imports in order to boost the country’s net income, added Gil Fernández.
Nevertheless, he said, there has not yet been any significant growth in new exports, which is the main way to achieve real development of the national economy.
In the case of imports, there is support for significant levels of activity that are concentrated in food and fuel (constituting about 40 percent) and priority is given to inputs to support exports under the plan, he said.
He noted that for 2020 the analyses have started with the identification of income in terms of generating goods and services that increase the amounts to prioritize food and fuel production, debt payments and financing of national industry.
Among the directives, it has been established to adjust to the available resources in order not to increase the spiral of indebtedness, not to deteriorate the ratio of the final balance of accounts payable abroad and to ensure the internal monetary balance.
He said that steps have been made to give companies greater autonomy in managing foreign exchange, such as retail sales of goods in dollars, activity in the Special Development Zone of Mariel, steps to move towards a more financial and less administrative management of the economy.
He said that retail trade circulation is estimated to have grown by 20 percent, which requires the support of insurance and its control necessary for the country’s monetary balance and to support salary increases.
With respect to the situation of energy carriers, the need for savings through the consumption of about eight million tons of fuel equivalent is ratified, of which three million (38 percent) will be produced domestically and used primarily for electricity generation, said Gil Fernandez.
He stressed that power generation will increase by 3.3 percent, including the energy provided by the Ciro Redondo bioelectric plant, the solar photovoltaic plant, as well as that delivered by the three mobile generators already operating in the country, which brings the contribution of renewable energy sources to 6.5 percent.
With respect to foreign investment, he stressed that its importance for development is ratified and more than 50 new projects are being evaluated, including some directly in productive activities of great importance for the country and prioritizing export and productive linkage with the national industry.
Investments in general will amount to 12 billion pesos, prioritizing tourism development, housing (40,800 new homes are expected), renewable energy sources, the construction materials industry, food, infrastructure, roads and social services, which constitutes a growth of 19 percent over the current year, he said.
According to the head of state, support is being given to education, health, passenger and cargo transport, as well as local development, although in this last aspect it is urgent to make better use of the internal potential of the territories without demanding financing in the country’s foreign currency.
Although the pace of investment is below what the country needs, it is necessary to improve those that are made, for example the correct use of feasibility studies in order to achieve the expected return, he said.
As for the salary behavior, it is estimated that the average will be 112 pesos higher than in 2019, reaching 989 pesos, as well as a 0.7 percent growth in job generation.
In conclusion, he listed among the priorities of the Plan for 2020 the increase and diversification of exports, import substitution, achieving greater efficiency in the investment process, maintaining and increasing savings measures, strengthening local development projects, reducing imports for tourism and strengthening linkages with foreign investment.
In addition, he mentioned the need to advance in the improvement of the state-owned enterprise, ensure the compliance of foreign exchange earnings and retail trade circulation in terms of the external and internal financial balance of the country, take advantage of the contribution of academia and the opportunities of the measures adopted to boost the economy.
(Taken from ACN)