The Cuban government has implemented new measures in a bid to boost the economy, amidst economic and financial tensions due to internal, inefficient management and strengthening U.S. sanctions.
CGTN’s Luis Chirino has more.
New actions just announced as part of a package of measures progressively underway, now include the opening of a shop network that will soon offer manufactured products through dollar-pegged debit cards.
“The measure aims to obtain a larger percentage of remittances which Cubans use to purchase products abroad and later sell them here in an irregular market”, said Cuban vice president Salvador Valdes on a recent television appearance.
“The interesting thing here is that those of us who receive hard currency remittances from the U.S. or from other countries can purchase at a lower price all these products that will soon be on the local offer,” said Rosa Maria Meneses, a housewife who was in line at a local bank to open a hard-currency account, which is the premise to access the new offer.
Meanwhile, Arnaldo Cairo, a light industry worker told CGTN that the initiative “is something that will help our economy, particularly under the strengthening U.S. trade blockade, so I think this is convenient and of great help to all of us.”
The Cuban government blames the U.S. trade embargo for the majority of the island’s economic woes and considers it a major obstacle for the island’s economic development. The Trump administration has recently stiffened sanctions, including further limits to family remittances – a significant impact on the island’s economy.
Along with the traditional shops in Cuban currency, the new offer initially includes electrical appliances, spare parts particularly of Soviet-era cars and electric scooters, which are in high demand on the island.
For economists like Omar Everleny, the measure brings broad benefits, since he explained that “for the population, the measure translates into lower prices, by 50 percent. The benefit is for both the state and the people.”
The measures also allow imports by Cuban nationals through state companies, which could favor the emerging private sector.
These measures joined previous ones cutting unnecessary imports and boosting local production of goods plus the exports of local products and others to come. Cuban authorities insist that all of these actions are aimed at progressively boosting the economy, meeting the local demand of goods and creating new jobs.