Private Initiative in Cuba, Necessary and Irreversible

Havana, Cuba, Nov 7.- The non-state economic sector in Cuba, including private businesses and cooperatives, has proved to be necessary for the sustainable development of the country´s economy.

An article published by PL news agency on Saturday looks at the non-state sector on the island, its performance, difficulties and challenges after years of growing existence on the island.

The private formula is irreversible since it is an emerging sector of Cuban economy, though certain conditions have not yet been settled for its good performance. The non-state sector is not an entity, an institution, but a diverse field, the article reads.

However, self-employment has significantly grown after registering 518 thousand 479 workers up to August this year, 361 thousand 108 more people in the sector than when the initiative was approved with more trades and specialties in 2010.

According to figures, over 150 thousand youngsters and more than 162 women are involved in private business in Cuba. The private initiative also employs more than 60, 800 persons who retired from state jobs.

At present 383 cooperatives in the areas of services and production are operating in Cuba, particularly in Havana, and other western provinces, though they are also present in other regions.

Cooperatives mainly concentrate in domestic trade, repair shops, restaurants, construction, manufacture, transportation, home rentals and other activities.

Challenges posed on the good performance of non-state businesses include the lack of wholesale markets, high prices of products and resources at retail shops, bureaucratic hurdles in their development and dissatisfaction about the tax system for their case.

The article underlines the need for supervision or control of private restaurants and night clubs to avoid what it calls inappropriate practices, such as tax evasion, prostitution and drug consumption.

Recent surveys indicate that personal entrepreneurship is encouraged in Cuba by economic necessity, public policies and the market prospects now opening with the transformation of the Cuban economic model and the new foreign investment opportunities. (acn)

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