Sunday, August 15, 2021

Economic Reforms Approved Pre July 11 But Implemented Now (IPS and Reuters)

July events in Cuba accelerated expected measures

The package includes social actions, opens the door to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and a decree on telecommunications.

24 August, 2021

The approval of the decree-laws on micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) is among the most awaited decisions.

Photo: Jorge Luis Baños/IPS

Havana, 24 Aug.- Cuba approved a broad package of economic and social measures after the protests of 11 July in 42 localities of the country, originated according to official media in campaigns from abroad.

Sectoral authorities affirmed in several spaces that several of the provisions were planned as part of the agreements of the Eighth Congress of the Communist Party, last April, for the updating of the economic and social model and the recovery strategy from the global crisis caused by the pandemic of the new coronavirus.

From that date, in the midst of the epidemiological complexity of the resurgence of covid-19, the government gives the green light to issues that have been on the public agenda for some time, and generates actions to eliminate complaints from citizens.

From the unlimited importation of food and medicines to alleviate the shortages experienced by families to the regulations for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, these new provisions respond in part to complaints from different social sectors.

The measures implemented since July cover a wide spectrum of tariff corrections, modifications and adjustments in different areas.


-From July 19 until the end of 2021, as an exceptional measure, Cubans and foreigners, resident or not on the island, can import food, toiletries, medicines and medical supplies, as accompanied luggage –separated from the rest–, without limits on its value and free of tariffs, except those who arrive through Varadero and Cayo Coco,  they will only be able to bring a suitcase.

-It is flexible exceptionally and until December 31 the treatment of people and families who for various reasons do not have a ration book, so that they can access the basic basket of food and toilet and others of free sale.

-The program of support for the 62 neighborhoods of greater social and constructive complexities begins in Havana, with emphasis on the participation of citizens in the solution of old accumulated problems, the strengthening of structures in the community and the attention to single mothers and young people who have been separated.

-The Telecommunications Company of Cuba (Etecsa) compensates users of mobile data and browsing accounts Nauta Hogar for the service interruptions in connection with the protests of July 11.

-The sale by instalments to natural persons of goods whose prices exceed 2,500 pesos is approved, according to resolution 98/2021 of the Ministry of Internal Trade disclosed on July 20.

-Begins on August 16, experimentally, the sale of bicycles to students of the Central University of Las Villas Marta Abreu, in Santa Clara.

-Since that same date Etecsa has been marketing new combined mobile phone plans, which represent more megas with the same prices, with additional minutes and text messages, when 6,600,000 mobile lines are active in the country –more than 75 percent of them with access to data–, and some 1,000 radio bases allow 4G to reach all municipalities.

-Decree-Law No. 35, on Telecommunications, Information and Communication Technologies and the Use of the Radio Spectrum and the model of action for the response to cybersecurity incidents, is approved. Published on August 17, this text criminalizes cyberbullying.


-Decree-laws on micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) have been approved to diversify production and promote chains that generate national added value, promote employment and economic and social well-being.

-The Council of State issues decree-laws on non-agricultural cooperatives (CNA), self-employment and their personal contraventions, as well as on the special social security regime for self-employed workers, members of the CNA and MSMEs.

-The sale of garage is authorized, the application for permits for its realization and the collection of a fee is eliminated and the figure of the commissioning houses is rescued, according to resolution 97/2021, of the Ministry of Internal Trade, released on July 20 in the Official Gazette  No. 66.

-Law 113 on the Tax System, of 2012, is also amended for self-employment and the tax regime for MSMEs.

-Organizations such as the Central Bank of Cuba, the Ministries of Internal Trade, Transport, Public Health, Finance and Prices and the Institute of Physical Planning adopt corresponding sectoral regulations for self-employment, non-agricultural cooperatives and MSMEs.

-Approves the decree-laws on the conservation, improvement and sustainable management of soils and the use of fertilizers and public registers of real estate.

-The obligation to use the salary scale for salary in state-owned enterprises is eliminated.

-Resolution No. 208 of the Ministry of Energy and Mines, announced on July 30, approves the import of equipment, its parts and pieces that generate or function as renewable sources of energy. For its part, resolution No. 322 of the Ministry of Finance and Prices exempts natural persons from payment of customs duties on non-commercial imports of certain equipment that takes advantage of renewable energy sources.

-According to Official Gazette  No. 71, of August 13, resolution No. 338 of the Ministry of Finance and Prices grants tax benefits to natural and legal persons who market goods or services in addition to their main activity, to create conditions and care for patients with COVID-19 in the rise of pandemic contagion.

In agriculture

Pursuant to resolution No. 320 of the Ministry of Finance and Prices, published on 30 July, the maximum prices for collection and wholesale of malanga (xanthosoma and colocasia), banana (vianda, donkey and fruit) and sweet potato, for social consumption, medical diets and family care system, which become by agreement, are eliminated.

-The contracting of electricity service to farmers is updated four times a year, which would reduce the penalty for exceeding demand, in line with actual production, cultivation and season.

-The consumption for the lighting of the crops is separated from the pumping during the hours of greatest consumption and the demand and consumption to be invoiced for those who are measured on average for having the defective measurement is updated.

-It establishes the direct contracting with the producer of the water supply service, eliminates the automatic charge for the service and exempts producers from the payment of the planned and unso consumed water tariff.


As part of a process of dialogue promoted by the government with sectors of the country, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel held meetings with economists, accountants, researchers and students of economic sciences, young people, journalists, religious leaders, farmers, jurists and women from different professions.

Among the issues addressed are the slow pace of foreign investment, the urgency of reviewing investment strategies in tourism, the importance of news immediacy, the articulation between discourse and reality and how much remains to be done in terms of gender equality, education and against prejudice.

In turn, the authorities make tours of vulnerable neighborhoods of the capital to share with local leaders, representatives of religious institutions and neighborhood, cultural and community sports projects, among others. (2021)


Acontecimientos de julio en Cuba aceleraron esperadas medidas

El paquete incluye acciones sociales, abre las puertas a las micro,pequeñas y medianas empresas y un decreto sobre telecomunicaciones.

POLÍTICA Redacción IPS Cuba 24 agosto, 2021


La aprobación de los decretos-leyes sobre las micro, pequeñas y medianas empresas (mipymes), figura entre las decisiones más esperadas.

Foto: Jorge Luis Baños/IPS

La Habana, 24 ago.- Cuba aprobó un amplio paquete de medidas económicas y sociales tras las protestas del pasado 11 de julio en 42 localidades del país, originadas según medios oficiales en campañas provenientes desde el extranjero.

Autoridades sectoriales afirmaron en varios espacios que varias de las disposiciones estaban previstas como parte de los acuerdos del Octavo Congreso del Partido Comunista, en abril pasado, para la actualización del modelo económico y social y la estrategia de recuperación de la crisis mundial provocada por la pandemia del nuevo coronavirus.

A partir de esa fecha, en medio de la complejidad epidemiológica del rebrote de la covid-19, el gobierno da luz verde a temas que llevan tiempo en la agenda pública, y genera acciones para eliminar las quejas de la ciudadanía.

Desde la importación sin límites de alimentos y medicamentos para paliar las escaseces que viven las familias hasta las normativas para las micro, pequeñas y medianas empresas, estas nuevas disposiciones responden en parte a reclamos de diferentes sectores sociales.

Las medidas aplicadas desde julio abarcan un amplio espectro de correcciones, modificaciones y adecuaciones de tarifas en diferentes esferas.


-A partir del 19 de julio y hasta finales de 2021, como medida excepcional, cubanos y extranjeros, residentes o no en la isla, pueden importar alimentos, productos de aseo, medicamentos e insumos médicos, como equipaje acompañado –separado del resto–, sin límites en su valor y libres de aranceles, excepto quienes arriben por Varadero y Cayo Coco, que solo podrán traer una maleta.

-Se flexibiliza de forma excepcional y hasta el 31 de diciembre el tratamiento a personas y núcleos familiares que por diversas razones no tienen libreta de abastecimiento, para que puedan acceder a la canasta básica de alimentos y aseo y otros de venta liberada.

-Comienza en La Habana el programa de apoyo a los 62 barrios de mayores complejidades sociales y constructivas, con énfasis en la participación de la ciudadanía en la solución de viejos problemas acumulados, el fortalecimiento de las estructuras en la comunidad y la atención a madres solteras y jóvenes desvinculados.

-La Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (Etecsa) compensa a usuarios de datos móviles y cuentas de navegación Nauta Hogar por las interrupciones del servicio a propósito de las protestas del 11 de julio.

-Se aprueba la venta por plazos a personas naturales de bienes cuyos precios superen los 2.500 pesos, según la resolución 98/2021 del Ministerio de Comercio Interior divulgada el 20 de julio pasado.

-Comienza el 16 de agosto, de forma experimental, la venta a plazos de bicicletas a estudiantes de la Universidad Central de Las Villas Marta Abreu, en Santa Clara.

-Desde esa misma fecha Etecsa comercializa nuevos planes combinados de telefonía móvil, que representan más megas con los mismos precios, con minutos y mensajes de texto adicionales, cuando están activas en el país 6.600.000 líneas móviles –más del 75 por ciento de ellas con acceso a datos–, y unas 1.000 radiobases permiten que la 4G llegue a todos los municipios.

-Se aprueba el Decreto-ley No, 35, De las Telecomunicaciones, las Tecnologías de la Información y la Comunicación y del Uso del Espectro Radioeléctrico y el modelo de actuación para la respuesta a incidentes de ciberseguridad. Publicado el 17 de agosto, este texto tipifica el delito de ciberacoso.


-Quedan aprobados decretos-leyes sobre las micro, pequeñas y medianas empresas (mipymes), para diversificar la producción y propiciar encadenamientos que generen valor agregado nacional, fomenten el empleo y el bienestar económico y social.

-El Consejo de Estado emite decretos-leyes sobre las cooperativas no agropecuarias (CNA), el trabajo por cuenta propia y sus contravenciones personales, así como acerca del régimen especial de seguridad social para los trabajadores por cuenta propia, socios de las CNA y las mipymes.

-Se autoriza la venta de garaje, se elimina la solicitud de permisos para su realización y el cobro de una tarifa y se rescata la figura de las casas comisionistas, según la resolución 97/2021, del Ministerio de Comercio Interior, dada a conocer el 20 de julio en la Gaceta Oficial No. 66.

-Se modifica también la Ley 113 Del Sistema Tributario, de 2012, para el trabajo por cuenta propia y el régimen fiscal de mipymes.

-Organismos como el Banco Central de Cuba, los ministerios del Comercio Interior, Transporte, Salud Pública, Finanzas y Precios y el Instituto de Planificación Física adoptan normativas sectoriales correspondientes para el trabajo por cuenta propia, las cooperativas no agropecuarias y las mipymes.

-Aprueba Consejo de Estado los decretos-leyes sobre la conservación, el mejoramiento y manejo sostenible de los suelos y el uso de los fertilizantes y de los registros públicos de bienes inmuebles.

-Se elimina la obligación de utilizar la escala salarial para el salario en las empresas estatales.

-La resolución No. 208 del Ministerio de Energía y Minas, anunciada el 30 de julio, aprueba la importación de equipos, sus partes y piezas que generan o funcionan como fuentes renovables de energía. Por su parte, la resolución No. 322 del Ministerio de Finanzas y Precios exime del pago de aranceles de aduana a personas naturales por las importaciones sin carácter comercial de determinados equipos que aprovechen las fuentes renovables de energía.

-De acuerdo con la Gaceta Oficial No. 71, del 13 de agosto, la resolución No. 338 del Ministerio de Finanzas y Precios otorga beneficios fiscales a las personas naturales y jurídicas que comercialicen bienes o servicios en adición a su actividad principal, para crear condiciones y atender a pacientes con covid-19 en el alza del contagio pandémico.

En la agricultura

En virtud de la resolución No. 320 del Ministerio de Finanzas y Precios, publicada el 30 de julio, se eliminan los precios máximos de acopio y mayoristas de malanga (xanthosoma y colocasia), plátano (vianda, burro y fruta) y boniato, con destino al consumo social, dietas médicas y sistema de atención a la familia, que pasan a ser por concertación.

-La contratación del servicio de electricidad a los agricultores se actualiza cuatro veces al año, lo que permitiría reducir la penalidad por exceder la demanda, a tono con la producción real, el cultivo y la temporada.

-Se separa el consumo para el alumbrado de los cultivos del bombeo durante el horario de mayor consumo y se actualiza la demanda y el consumo a facturar para quienes se les mide por promedio por tener la medición defectuosa.

-Se establece la contratación directa con el productor del servicio de provisión de agua, se elimina el cobro automático por el servicio y se exime a los productores del pago de la tarifa de agua planificada y no consumida.


Como parte de un proceso de diálogos promovido por el gobierno con sectores del país, el presidente cubano, Miguel Díaz-Canel, sostuvo encuentros con economistas, contadores, investigadores y estudiantes de ciencias económicas, jóvenes, periodistas, líderes religiosos, agricultores, juristas y mujeres de diferentes profesiones.

Entre los asuntos abordados figuran la lentitud en la inversión extranjera, la urgencia de revisar las estrategias de inversión en el turismo, la importancia de la inmediatez noticiosa, la articulación entre discurso y realidad y cuánto falta por hacer en materia de igualdad de género, por la educación y


contra los prejuicios.

A su vez, las autoridades realizan recorridos por barrios vulnerables de la capital para compartir con líderes locales, representantes de instituciones religiosas y de proyectos barriales, culturales y deportivos comunitarios, entre otros. (2021)


Cuba dips toe in market economy with legalization of small businesses
By Marc Frank

HAVANA, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Thousands of small and medium-sized Cuban businesses will be allowed to incorporate in the coming months, in one of the most important economic reforms taken by the island's Communist government since it nationalized all enterprises in the 1960s.

The reform, details of which came to light this week, will permit small and medium-sized businesses for the first time since 1968, putting an end to the legal limbo in which many have existed for years in the Soviet-style economy.

The law will also apply to small and medium-sized state firms, paving the way for an important decentralization of some activities and forcing subsidized operations to become profitable or fold, according to Cuban economists.

In the food service sector, thousands of government-subsidized eateries will either close, become cooperatives or turn into small businesses, according to a mid-level manager involved in the process who spoke on condition of anonymity. Those it keeps will become small- and medium-sized state-owned businesses competing with them.

While there have always been private farms and agricultural cooperatives in Cuba, most of the economy was in state hands until the 1990s when heavily regulated small businesses were allowed in a few areas under the rubric of self-employment, limiting their legitimacy and legal standing.

The new measures are a key part of the economic reforms undertaken by new Cuban leader Miguel Diaz-Canel over the last year, as the coronavirus pandemic and tougher U.S. sanctions pushed the shaky economy into a tailspin and shortages of food, medicine and other basic goods reached alarming proportions.

Economy Minister Alejandro Gil said in a televised presentation Wednesday evening the measures would put state and private business on an equal footing to compete, work together and create joint companies, much as in capitalist countries.

"It is a starting point for a new stage in the diversification of the economy and its development, in order to make the most of its potential," Gil said, adding that the reform would boost employment and allow the economy to rebound more strongly as the pandemic eased.


Creation of micro, small and medium-sized (MSME) businesses was fast-tracked upon approval in May by Cuba's Council of Ministers.

The new MSMEs will be able to access the state wholesale system, import and export, set prices and attract foreign investment, but only within a state-dominated business environment where such activities will remain heavily regulated, according to various ministers who appeared with Gil.

Companies are limited to no more than 100 employees and individuals can only own a single company, according to a decree law published by the Council of State this month.

Nevertheless, it is a welcome step for many entrepreneurs and most economists who have long called for the reform.

"Cuba is moving towards a mixed economic model, at least in terms of employment," said Pavel Vidal, a former Cuban central bank economist who teaches at Colombia's Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Cali.

"With this opening, in a few years the non-state sector will represent more than 50% of total employment in the economy," Vidal said, adding that "still much more needs to be done."

Cuba's economy, which has stagnated for years, contracted by 10.9% in 2020 and declined another 2% in the six months through June, compared with the first six months of last year. The economy remains heavily reliant on tourism and imports.

Thousands of people in cities across the Caribbean island took to the streets on July 11 to protest living conditions in what were the biggest anti-government demonstrations since the 1959 revolution. Diaz-Canel has blamed the unrest on the United States, saying protesters were manipulated by U.S.-orchestrated social media campaigns.

The private sector in Cuba has gradually expanded since the 1990s to encompass more than 600,000 self-employed license holders in many sectors and includes business owners and their employees, tradespeople and taxi drivers.

The so called non-state sector, including agriculture, provides work for a third of the 4.9 million officially employed Cubans in the labor force, with the remainder working for the state.

Reporting by Marc Frank Editing by Daniel Flynn and Paul Simao

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