Economy Minister confirms change in approach to planning

Alejandro Gil, the Minister of Economy and Planning (MEP) has confirmed that in 2020 the previous top down planning process for the Cuban economy will be reversed and workers in each state enterprise will determine production levels ‘without specific directives or limits’ from Government before incorporation into the national planning process.

Speaking at the opening session of the VIII Congress of the National Association of Economists and Accountants of Cuba (ANEC), he said that in future planning will become ‘a collective construction’.

He said that up to now the state had presented a global model of the economy from which specific directives flowed by sectors, and from which defined levels of production of goods and services, as well as imports and exports, were determined. In future Gil said, “there is no straitjacket”. He warned however that the new approach will require all concerned to be “objective, realistic and aware”, and will require a change of mentality, because “there will be some who are used to having numbers sent to them from above”.

For this reason, the Minister said, the process will require the support of ANEC and the unions through the Central de Trabajadores de Cuba (CTC). He additionally observed that the new approach will be to build a plan that “has to be by nature more efficient than the one that went from top to bottom”.

In his remarks Gil said that despite increased US pressure Cuban growth and development will continue but confirmed the country should be preparing to gradually reduce imports and develop national productive capacity. He suggested that one of the ways to strengthen national production and productive linkages would be the development of new policies, financial incentives, and the promotion of local development projects based on the use of national resources.

Gil also spoke about greater financial rigour being required when it comes to investments in national enterprises. Noting that not infrequently there were differences between feasibility studies and yields, he observed that the return on investment needed to be analysed and understood.

The Minister also told ANEC delegates and guests that food production, housing programmes, transportation, computerisation and medicines were now the country’s priority sectors.

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