Cuban President Raul Castro said last week in Havana that the solution to the country’s dual currency system cannot be prolonged any longer.
During the Cuban leader’s closing speech at the most recent session of the National Assembly, he said that the elimination of the dual currency will not solve the economic problems, but will constitute a process that will advance the current economic model due to the impact it will have in all spheres of society.
Castro stressed that if this situation is not resolved it will be difficult to advance correctly. He also recognized that much has been accomplished in general and to overcome the existing problems relating to subsidies, wholesale and retail prices and tariffs, pensions and salaries in the state sector of the economy.
The Cuban president added that no one can calculate the elevated cost for the state in the continued duality of the currency.
He added that not all competent citizens are motivated to work legally due to the persistence of this abnormal situation, which also discourages the best and most capable workers accepting leadership positions, many of which migrate to other non-state sectors.
Castro pointed out that a two percent growth in GDP is expected for 2018, presupposing the efficient use of the financial and material resources available, increasing the earnings from exports and growth in the national production, in particular the food sector.
GDP registered growth of 1.6 percent in the current year, said Castro, adding that this result is still not satisfactory.
Next year will also be complicated for external finances of the country, he said, while confirming that Cuba will continue with its objective of gradually recovering international credibility in its national economy. Raul assured creditors Cuba will comply with the commitments made in reorganizing foreign debt.
Castro also called for consolidating the still incipient foreign investment in the economy, with better outcomes this year and pointed out that the island cannot get around the effects of the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba, recently reinforced by the current administration.
The president insisted that Cuba will not abandon the deployment and development of the different forms of non-state management in the economy and pointed out the need to enforce that people respect the law, secure positive results and confront illegalities and violations of the current policy.
He also referred to the damages of Hurricane Irma – the worst recoded in the Atlantic — that inflicted damaged estimated at US$13 billion.
For the first time the interruption of the national electrical system occurred, Castro noted.
He added that the damage to tourism facilities by the hurricane was repaired in only 62 days, mainly in the keys north of the central provinces, which were ready to offer services before the high tourism season began in mid-November.
The Cuban president reiterated that no one was left uncared for before or after Hurricane Irma and to resolve the most complex of the problems, which is housing, the government executed construction programs in the communities that were most affected and is a priority in the economy for 2018.
Castro reiterated the gratitude of the Cuban people for the international aid received and countless expressions of support from different parts of the world.