Damarys Ruiz, a state employee from Cuba’s capital Havana, expects that the government’s strategy to boost the economy can bring prosperity to her country.
The 50-year-old, who works in the field of commerce, told Xinhua that state companies can very much contribute to improving Cuba’s economic situation after the COVID-19 pandemic hiatus.
“We are opening the country to foreign investment and a monetary overhaul is underway,” she said. “I feel we are moving on the right track.”
According to official statistics, the state sector in Cuba provides more than 80 percent of the country’s GDP.
In addition, roughly 8,000 small and medium-sized enterprises have been approved on the island since September 2021, the Cuban Ministry of Economy and Planning said in its latest update.
Adriel Perez, who works for a private mobile repair shop in the district of Playa in Havana, said local entrepreneurs can make the Cuban economy more dynamic.
“The private sector is now permitted to import, which is highly beneficial for the quality of service we offer the population,” he said.
The Cuban government has initiated various measures to recover the economy, amid the intensification of the six-decade-long U.S. embargo, which has cost the Caribbean nation more than 150 billion U.S. dollars, according to the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Minister of Economy Alejandro Gil said that at present 285 companies are reporting losses. As inflation becomes increasingly severe and complex, he called for increasing production in the food sector, where inflation has the greatest impact.
A significant part of hard currencies has been invested in reactivating agricultural and electronic industries as well as in the imports of rice, pork meat and care products, he told the parliament recently, adding the government continues to implement a package of 63 measures approved in April 2021 to spur national food production.
Meanwhile, Cuba has welcomed over 1.2 million tourists so far in 2023, according to the Ministry of Tourism.
Taxi driver Raul Diaz said he believes his country can overcome the obstacles posed by the U.S. embargo.
“We need to continue to work hard, but a better economy is possible,” he said. “We are making a huge effort to improve our quality of life. The solution depends on us.”
The Cuban government has projected a 3-percent GDP growth in 2023.