Photo by Jeremy Stewardson
Cuba’s Council of Minsters has approved changes to the legal status of all state and non-state enterprises and cooperatives, including the country’s many small, medium, and micro private businesses that deliver services from clothing design to vehicle repairs.
The new laws, when published, are expected to confirm that state enterprises remain the primary economic force in Cuba but with greater devolved management responsibility for decision making and profitability within state guidelines. They are also expected to confirm that the new approach cannot lead to privatisation, while recognising that non-state forms of management have a legally recognised complementary role.
Cuba’s Prime Minister, Manuel Marrero, said that in the case of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises similar management conditions will exist in both the state and private sectors once the new laws are gazetted. However, the range of activities private companies may undertake will be legally defined by the list of negative activities already approved for self-employment.
Speaking about the decision, President Díaz-Canel said that it represented an improvement which will provide continuity and “allow an adequate dimension of [each of] the economic actors in the country and above all a resizing of the state business sector”.
In his quoted remarks, he observed that by removing the state from activities that are not fundamental to economic performance, better use can be made of the workforce, and especially the highly qualified. He also commented on the importance of consolidating the relationship between the state sector and the non-state sector, which he noted would allow greater use of human potential, productive capacities, experience, and innovation.
“If we do this process well”, he said, “we can achieve integration between both sectors, boost the economy, and give more dynamism to the development of the country. The process is going to be gradual; but making it gradual does not mean that we will delay the start to implementing it”.
Meanwhile, a report of a meeting of the Central Committee Secretariat published in Cubadebate (See story below) has considered a document on the role that the Communist Party should play in the improvement of non-state forms of management.
The online platform reported that members of the Secretariat agreed on “the need to strengthen the direct link between the Party structures – at the provincial and municipal levels – with the non-state sector”. They also discussed, Cubadebate noted, the importance of “establishing systematic meetings between the leaders of the territories with representatives of these forms of management, to learn their concerns, unblock the problems, and also involve them more in the development of the communities”.
The publication quoted Roberto Morales, the party’s Secretary of Organisation and Politics of Cadres, as saying: “We have to shed all prejudice, work with the non-state sector and commit them to solutions for the country.”
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