Havana, Nov 25 (AIN)- The sector of services is closing this year as the leader in the Cuban economy and the island’s GDP is expected to grow by 9 percent, said Planning and Economy Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez on Thursday.
During his intervention at the 6th National Congress of Economists and Accountants of Cuba, the Cuban minister said that the basis for economic and social development of a country is saving, especially energy consumption.
Saving energy isn’t just a slogan, he said. It contributes with material resources and financial liquidity to finance new social projects and expand those already existing. People must learn that the importance of an adequate use of working hours to achieve efficiency, added Rodriguez.
He also noted the importance of educating the population in economics, since participation is crucial in the building of socialism. One way to achieve such education is by implementing measures that promote savings and the rational use of resources, such as the recent increase in the heavily subsidized electric rates, said Rodriguez.
The Cuban minister also highlighted that starting the year 2000 the Cuban economy took an important turn motivated by social programs coming out of the “Battle of Ideas” - which promotes the comprehensive human development of the entire population. He also talked about the central use of foreign currency revenues, the tighter monetary controls implemented and the substituting circulation of the dollar for the Cuban Convertible Peso coupled with a revaluing of the regular Cuban peso.
Other important changes are Cuba’s ability to cancel its short term debt and subsequent eligibility for increased credit, noted Rodriguez.
The minister added that between 1995 and 2004 the average annual growth of the economy was around 4 percent. This, he said, represented a gradual recovery during what is called the “Special Period”, or years following the collapse of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, Cuba’s chief trading partners for decades.
Rodriguez called on people not to forget that the island is still facing difficult times due to the high oil prices and the tightening of the US blockade of Cuba. Likewise, the effects of drought and powerful hurricanes in recent years have meant increased expenditures. He said repairing the electric grid in 2004 alone took off nearly 1 percent of the GDP for that year.