Diaz-Canel stresses need for more effective economic management

Speaking at the end of a meeting of the Cuban National Assembly which largely addressed the detail of the country’s new draft constitution (Cuba Briefing July 16 and 23, 2018), President Diaz-Canel has emphasised the need for much more effective management of the economy by government.

Noting that GDP grew by 1.1% in the first quarter of the year, offering what he described as “some encouragement”, he told legislators that the country’s external finances remained “tense” following the failure to meet planned revenues from exports, tourism and sugar. This was in addition to the damage caused by a prolonged drought and the destruction caused by Hurricane Irma and subsequent intense rains, all of which he said had affected the country’s ability to purchase raw materials, equipment and supplies.

This situation will, he told the National Assembly, force the country to adopt in the second half of this year additional measures to ensure the delivery of the main elements of the country’s 2018 plan. Diaz-Canel added that this would require greater control over imports and other foreign exchange expenditures.

In his remarks he stressed that delivering the main planned economic objectives and guaranteeing basic services to the population will require strict control and rational use of all material and financial resources. “This attitude must become the rule of conduct of the government cadres in all areas, first of all by those who are members of the Council of Ministers”, he said.

The plan for the 2019 would be “objective, realistic and sustainable” and start from a solid and achievable base allowing for growth and progress, while contributing to the gradual restoration of Cuba’s financial credibility, Diaz-Canel noted.

To this end, he stressed, Government will encourage the elimination of obstacles and bureaucratic mechanisms that delay decisions; hold government leaders and institutions accountable; systematically check the delivery of development programmes; and utilise social communication, computerisation, research and innovation as pillars of government management to defend public health, education and national culture.

In a clear signal that government intends to clamp down on all illegal activity, he called for an ethical battle against corruption, illegalities, addiction and social indiscipline. In doing so, he said government had “the unrestricted support of citizens” to act against “the pernicious impunity of criminal chains …. (that) …. enrich themselves without scruples or limits”.

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