Cuban reforms continue to bear fruit for entrepreneurs
HAVANA, Cuba, Monday July 23, 2012 – A new credit policy implemented in Cuba has thus far benefitted over 49 900 citizens, said the president-minister of Central Bank of Cuba (BCC) Ernesto Medina.
In his report to Cuban lawmakers on Thursday, Medina said that the total bulk of credit lines has reached 347 million Cuban pesos, particularly granted to citizens for home repairs and the purchase of construction materials.
Medina said that as credit lines continue to be granted, the institutions involved in the initiative continue to improve their work to expand the access to credits.
The official explained that the measure also benefits the sugar and agriculture sectors, in an effort to encourage their productions.
Cubans are also increasingly renting state-owned facilities to develop their private business after a resolution allowing this initiative was adopted last December by the ministries of Foreign Trade, Finance and Prices, and Labour and Social Security.
The measure, in tune with the updating of Cuban economy, aims at making more efficient use of former state facilities by renting them to self-employed workers in modalities, such as barber’s shops, beauty parlours, shoe repairers, and others.
In eastern Camaguey province, for instance, the Technical, Personal and Home Services Enterprise has seen its income grow with the rental of its facilities to private workers.
Enterprise vice-director Martha Pichs described the initiative as effective. The measure was firstly implemented as a pilot project in June 2010, while at present it has already rented 80 facilities, where 182 private workers are developing their businesses.
Ariel Garcia is a usual client at one of these barber’s shops and he told the Cuban news agency that he considers the quality and performance of the service very appropriate given the attention he has received by the workers.
Meanwhile, Eralides Araujo, a barber at the place said he is happy to have rented the place for his private activity, which helps him get a higher income.
Barbers’ shops and beauty parlours used to be state-run services guaranteeing a fix and low cost to the population and a monthly salary to workers for an eight-hour service. With the new initiative the prices of different services offered at the place are set by the private workers, according to demand and the quality of their work.
Other trades are currently developing in the province as part of the initiative, such as jewellery, photography, carpentry, shoe making and repairs, and others, said the executive.
Though the number of private services in these modalities is increasing as encouraged by the new rental opportunities, there are still state-run services, such as a barber’s shop for children and beauty parlours.