Cuba’s President, Raul Castro, has warned that while the country experienced a 1.1% growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first half of 2017, it anticipated “possible difficulties in the supply of fuels from Venezuela” during the remainder of this year. President Castro made the comments during the closing session of the mid-year meeting of the country’s National Assembly on July 14. He said that “financial tensions and challenges” could complicate the performance of the national economy.
President Castro was able to confirm that advances had been made in prioritised national investment programmes in infrastructure projects which, he argued, would lay the groundwork for future national development. He added that domestic monetary equilibrium had also improved, with lower than expected inflation and a reduced budget deficit. He noted, however, that the country’s external debt remained a problem.
President Castro said that while Government had restructured its external debt with its main creditors, it had not yet been able to catch up on current payments to suppliers. He stated that addressing the problems would require the continuation of measures to protect export earnings, food production, and services to the population. He added that it would be necessary to eliminate all non-essential expenses, and to ensure that resources were used in a targeted way that would support approved priorities.
Cuba’s Minister of the Economy and Planning, Vice President Ricardo Cabrisas, had spoken to the National Assembly about the state of the economy in greater….
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