Miguel Diaz-Canel, president of the Councils of State and Ministers, said that the new economic measures recently approved to strengthen the Cuban economy will only succeed if the people make them their own and support them.
The president headed a special round table to explain details of these announcements, which was broadcasted from the Palace of the Revolution, and was attended by members of the State Council, Council of Ministers and the Political Bureau of the Party and the Secretariat of its Central Committee.
Diaz-Canel emphasized that the pertinence of these measures is given by the pressures of the U.S. government and the need to establish an order in the country for the future implementation of other actions, which are already in process and are receiving adjustments.
We are talking about more performance, better use of the working day and that the entire economy is supported and intertwined and that there must be an impact on the quality of education, health and community services, said the President.
It is necessary to insist on the preparation of cadres, officials and administrators to avoid misinterpretations and that their effects are not spoiled by the unscrupulous actions of those who seek to enrich themselves at the expense of the people, hence the importance of control, he insisted.
Alejandro Gil Fernandez, Minister of Economy and Planning explained the objectives of these measures, among which he mentioned in the first order, defending national production; diversifying and increasing exports; substituting imports; promoting productive chains; strengthening the state enterprise; advancing food sovereignty; promoting local development; complying with the Housing Policy; and putting science at the service of solving economic problems.
He stressed the maximum priority given to food production, including animal feed, both incorporated into the national budget and, therefore, with greater control mechanisms.
He also stressed the implementation of the policy aimed at ensuring that science and innovation are a function of the country’s development, and to prioritize the allocation of economic and financial resources to the national industry, in which he stressed the importance of discussing the plans with the workers’ collectives in order to achieve “nothing that we can produce in the country,” he said.
In another part in allusion to one of the measures of great social impact such as the wage increase in the budget sector and among pensioners, the Minister of Economy and Planning reiterated that nothing justifies that there is now an increase in the prices of goods and services by the trading companies and the self-employed and cooperatives.
Meisi Bolaños, Minister of Finance and Prices, said during the TV program Roundtable that the increase in salaries and pensions will cost seven billion pesos and 700 million pesos respectively, which have to be financed with the budget planned for 2019.
Savings and greater discipline in capturing revenue to the state budget are among the actions planned to finance the measures to be implemented in Cuba, including the salary increase to the budgeted sector, said the incumbent.
She announced among the measures the expansion of offers of goods to materialize the purchasing capacity which in turn will generate income to the budget, in addition to the necessary reduction of the country’s budgets – from primary level – from defining priorities and withdrawing expenditures that are not executed.
She specified that this does not jeopardize the main levels of activity and services of the population, in addition to social programs such as the delivery of subsidies, housing construction, among others.
Margarita González, Minister of Labor and Social Security, clarified that the salary increase announced includes all workers in the budgeted sector, regardless of their function or category.
She explained that the treatment to be given to lower income workers was analyzed, hence the decision to raise the minimum wage to 400 pesos, which in the sector that less increases means an increase of 100 pesos and in which more than 155.
Regarding management positions, he explained that a monthly salary will be established depending on complexity and responsibility, which will stimulate promotion to these positions.
The Minister meant that the measure is a recognition to those who remained in the sector despite the difficulties.