‘Poor planning and errors’ slow economic reform process

The Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party has said that the country’s economic reform process has slowed due to the complexity of the measures being introduced, planning errors and poor management.

A report in Granma of a two-day plenary meeting of the central committee in late March, held to assess progress on the policies implemented since the country’s economic reform process began in 2011, had slowed since 2017. It noted that up to the end of 2015 the process had been characterised by rapid policy implementation. In 2016 and 2017 efforts, the body noted, had been geared towards improving what had previously been achieved, but that the process had slowed.

Among the reasons given for this were ‘a lack of tax-paying culture, poor use of accounting and book keeping as tools for economic analysis, problems with communicating the policies: failures that had hindered awareness and full understanding by the population of these difficult matters’, Granma reported.

It added that the Central Committee had concluded that poor communication had led to wrong interpretations, and that limited vision ‘as to the levels of risks and incomplete assessment of costs and benefits’, had also set back the process. The report went on to quote Vice President Marino Murillo, the head of the Permanent Commission for Implementation and Development, as saying that a lack of financial backing and the low levels of engagement of the bureaucracy had also slowed the process. He noted, however, that the Party had deliberately implemented reforms slowly to ensure they would not marginalise anyone.

Granma reported that during his presentation Murillo indicated that unification of Cuba’s dual currency system was now a priority and that studies on monetary and exchange unification were being prepared. He said that other priorities were the preparation of the National Plan for Economic and Social Development up to 2030 and related proposals to ensure its delivery by State bodies and other national entities.

The Central Committee also considered Cuba’s pressing housing needs. Granma said it was agreed that the State will use its own resources to stop the deterioration of the county’s existing housing stock and then move forward by making investments in the cement industry and though the encouragement of the local production of building materials.

The meeting also heard a report on studies to amend the Constitution to reflect ‘economic, political and social changes taking place, and to reiterate the irrevocable nature of the socialist system in Cuba’.

Summarising the meeting, President Castro called for all Party members to confront problems immediately ‘not waiting for solutions from above, but rather contributing creative, rational ideas’.

This is an extract from the Caribbean Council’s weekly editorially independent publication, Cuba Briefing, which provides in depth information on current economic, political and commercial developments in Cuba and news on events in Europe and the US that affect the region. Business people, academics, and those with a general interest in Cuba find it an invaluable tool for developing and maintaining knowledge and providing an insight into political, economic and commercial events in the region

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