Cuban economy continues to grow

HAVANA, Cuba, Thursday January 3, 2012 - Cuba’s economy ended the year with a 3.1 percent growth of its gross domestic product (GDP).

However, this was 3.4 percent lower than planned, Adel Yzquierdo, Minister of Economy and Planning reported during the last session of the Seventh Legislature of the Cuban Parliament. 

In his report to the lawmakers gathered at the Havana’s Convention Center, Yzquierdo described as favourable the country’s performance this year, despite not reaching the expected growth. 

Regarding the results in key sectors, he mentioned several sectors that did not reach the planned output such as construction, production of nickel and light industry, in the latter, the serious maintenance problems the industry is facing led to the non-fulfilment of plans. 

On the construction sector, the minister spoke of several problems the country must focus on next year. He added there is an urgency to keep construction materials in the market in order to solve Cuba’s housing stock deficit. 

He noted there has been an increase on construction materials supplies to the population, but still they lack the needed quality and availability. 

Unemployment rate in Cuba now is 3.8 percent, and there was a 1 percent growth in salaries and employment thanks mainly to the self-employed sector, he said 

Cargo transportation grew 8.9 percent but mass transportation decreased nationwide. 

Yzquierdo said investments were 19 percent short due to inefficiencies in planning and control, and added there have been undue delays in the execution of projects among other difficulties. 

Cuban has undertaken widespread economic reform in recent years geared toward counter-acting the degenerative effects of the five decade-long embargo imposed by the United States that hampers Cuba from capitalising on trading goods and services in the lucrative market of its largest neighbour to the north.  Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)