Cuba projects 4-4.5% growth in 2000

Ulhas Joglekar ulhasj at SPAMbom4.vsnl.net.in
Sat Dec 25 04:15:39 MST 1999



22 December 1999
Cuba projects 4-4.5% growth in 2000
HAVANA: Cuba expects growth of 4 percent to 4.5 percent in the coming year
as the communist country continues to recover from a decade-long financial
crisis, Economics Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez told lawmakers.
Rodriguez spoke Monday during the Cuban National Assembly's last session of
the year, which continues through Tuesday. His comments were carried by
Cuba's Prensa Latina news agency.
The minister's projection for 2000 is almost 2 percentage points lower than
the expected 6.2 percent growth for this year. Cuban officials attribute the
unexpectedly high growth for 1999 partly to higher oil production.
Since 1994, Cuba has averaged 4 percent annual growth, largely as a result
of modest reforms adopted after the collapse of the Soviet Union, once
Cuba's main source of aid and trade.
Rodriguez said daily life in Cuba is expected to improve modestly in the
coming year, with increased employment, small wage increases for government
workers, and a slightly fuller government-subsidised food basket, which in
recent years has been able to fulfill only a small fraction of a family's
dietary needs.
Rodriguez' report expanded on earlier government reports issued last week,
including news that 1999 sugar production rose by 21 percent above 1998
levels, to 3.8 million tons. Depressed market prices, however, meant that
Cuba earned 23 percent, or $127 million, less from sugar exports.
Tourism overtook sugar as the communist island's No. 1 source of hard
currency in recent years as Cuba sought to recover after losing about 40
percent of its aid and trade with the collapse of the Soviet bloc.
(Associated Press)
For Reprint rights: Times Syndication Service
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