Cuban Council of Ministers Approves New Policies
These policies are part of efforts to implement the Economic and Social Guidelines approved by the 7th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba last year
Presided by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, yesterday March 2, a Council of Ministers meeting was held, during which policies were approved regarding the improvement of the country’s system of standardization, measurement, quality, and certification; the digitalization of society; commercial fishing; as well as plans to ensure the safety of foods.
These policies were developed as part of efforts to implement the Economic and Social Guidelines approved by the 7th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba last year.
Upon presenting the policy regarding the improvement of the country’s system of standardization, measurement, quality, and certification, Leonardo Andollo Valdés, second in charge of the Permanent Commission for Implementation and Development, explained that the plan will contribute “to a higher level of efficiency and competitivity in all spheres of the economy, as well as the wellbeing and quality of life of the Cuban population.”
A diagnostic study revealed the need to reinforce the role played by the National Standardization Office as the authority in this area.
Important legal norms related to these issues are dispersed and must be aligned with the updating of the Cuban economic model, in accordance with the foundations established for the National Economic and Social Development Plan through 2030, he said.
The policy is meant to strengthen the country’s quality assurance infrastructure, and toward this end the National Council of Standardization, Measurement, Quality, and Certification was created.
At the same time, human resources and logistics must be made available to the National Measurement Service, and the gradual acquisition of equipment for the control of weight and measurement guaranteed, Andollo stated.
The implementation of this policy will allow for better quality in all forms of economic management, since it is directed toward assuring the efficacy of work, products, and services in all arenas.
FOOD SAFETY TO PROTECT HEALTH
Andollo commented that the policy on food safety is meant, first and foremost, to protect health.
Among the difficulties to be addressed, he highlighted the inadequate technology currently existent in both governing bodies and the enterprise system; insufficient planning in budgets for the maintenance of facilities and needed investments to conserve food; and the limited awareness on the part of some directors of the importance of this area of work.
The policy includes among its principal proposals the updating of the institutional, legal, and regulatory framework of the national system governing food, relevant to all involved in the food production and distribution chain.
THE DIGITALIZATION OF CUBAN SOCIETY
A comprehensive policy for the digitalization of Cuban society was also presented by Andollo, who explained that in order to support the structuring of the process, different steps have been taken, nevertheless, “a comprehensive policy is required, which in addition to structuring, prioritizes computer and tele-communications technology, as a strategic sector for the country, which contributes to growth of the economy with the consequent impact on the development of society.”
Among the fundamental principles spelled out in the policy are the necessity of these technologies serving as weapons in the defense of the Revolution, guaranteeing adequate security in cyberspace in the face of threats, risks, and attacks of all kinds, an indispensable condition for the development of this sector; as well as the ongoing professional development of associated human capital; and the expansion of citizens’ access to new technologies.
The implementation of this policy implies the completion of other tasks, such as the establishment of a national platform that encourages the generation of contents which strengthen the identity and values of Cuban society, and guarantees their dissemination; as well as the development and modernization of technological infrastructure, paying special attention to broad band internet, access and the production of digital devices in Cuba.
Also needing special attention is promotion of the software industry, in accordance with the country’s priorities, and directed toward strengthening the growth of our economy, Andollo reported.
On the basis of policies approved, conditions will be created to facilitate communication between different government institutions and the population, regarding the completion of forms and paperwork.
DEVELOPMENT OF COMMERCIAL FISHING
María del Carmen Concepción González, minister of Food Industry, explained
the policy developed for commercial fishing, directed toward the sustainable development of this activity and the strengthening of its control.
She emphasized the need to implement a law which unifies legal regulations governing fishing, and allows for the adequate exploitation of resources available in platform waters, stating that the policy must serve to support a long term development program.
Specified was the adoption of rigorous measures to enforce established legislation regarding fishing and protection of the environment.
Among other aspects, she said, the goal is a commercial fishing industry which includes training and informational activities for fishermen, administrators, enterprise managers, scientists, and citizens, in the interest of promoting sustainable fishing. She also emphasized the aquaculture development program, noting that in the case of such farming in salt waters, foreign investment must play a significant role.
CONTINUING EDUCATION PLANS
Minister of Labor and Social Security Margarita González Fernández presented the proposed continuing education plan, which was approved by the Council of Ministers, for students completing ninth grade and moving on to Technical-Professional and Pre-university schools, as well as for those who have completed 12th grade and are looking to enter higher education for the 2017-2018 academic year.
She explained that involved in the plan’s development were teaching and advisory bodies, provincial administrative councils, and provincial commissions responsible for training and the employment of qualified workers, who took into consideration the number of students continuing their studies; results of university entrance exams; demand within the economy for different types of qualified workers; as well as the commitment to provide all students finishing ninth and twelfth grade the opportunity to continue their education.
REGISTRATION OF STATE PROPERTIES
Regarding the process of listing all state-owned buildings and land in the Property Register, as part of efforts underway for several years to re-order the country’s real estate stock, María Esther Reus González, minister of Justice, offered preliminary information on progress made in 2016.
She indicated that work in both Central State Administration and local People’s Power bodies is practically completed, with the exception of Havana, where some empty lots remain to be registered, fundamentally as a result of limited information regarding their owners.
In this context, she reported that, in October of 2016, a public convocation was made calling on all individuals with titles to empty lots in the capital to appear at the Property Register before March 31, to certify their ownership.
In conclusion, she emphasized the importance of regularly updating the register of state-owned properties.
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