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More economic stockholders in Cuba

Havana, Feb 20 (Prensa Latina) Cuba's economic stockholders in the private, cooperative and mixed sectors increased significantly in 2023, accounting for more than 15 percent in the creation of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at present, an expert said.

Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) alone reached more than 10,000 companies, adding a smaller number of non-agricultural cooperatives, economist José Luis Rodríguez said in an article published in Granma newspaper.

The professor explained that these new players cover some 35 percent of employment in Cuba and develop their activities mainly in gastronomy and lodging (22.1 percent), construction (19.5), the manufacturing industry (18.4), and the industrial production of food and beverages (12.7 percent).

At the end of 2023, only 685 MSMEs reported losses in their management; that is, 7.2 percent of the total, the researcher pointed out.

Regarding foreign trade, he noted that in 2023, non-state companies imported more than one billion dollars, although they failed to place their offers in foreign markets with the same intensity.

Exports did not reach 200 million dollars, and were equivalent to 0.2 percent of the country’s total exports during the year, Rodriguez added.

Many of these enterprises also carry out commercial activities, which allowed them to have a faster turnover of the invested capital, with fewer operational difficulties, the expert stated.

“In addition, many of them have external financing through remittances, and advantageously compete with the State in market segments where the State companies are not present,” he said.

Regarding labor, about 183,000 new jobs have been created with a salary that is higher than the State sector, a situation that is influencing the emigration of the labor force to the non-state segment of the Cuban economy, the economist said.

So far, the performance of the new economic stockholders “has not been favorably appreciated by part of the population,” because although they contribute to increase the supply of goods and services, sales prices are above the purchasing power of the majority of the population, Rodriguez explained.

In the specialist’s opinion, the possible productive linkage with the State sector, in order to have a direct impact on the production of food and other consumer goods, has yet to be achieved.

Progress in this direction will depend to a great extent on the State’s actions to encourage State enterprises and the private and cooperative sector, which also includes some 596,000 self-employed workers, Rodriguez considered.