The Cuban government on Friday specified its timetable for the creation of the status of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), a measure eagerly awaited by the private sector: the legislation will be for August or September.
"This year 2021 is a year of profound transformations (...) there will be small state and non-state enterprises," Economy Minister Alejandro Gil Fernandez said on television, announcing a law on the subject for August or September.
The principle of authorizing the creation of SMEs, in both the public and private sectors, has been validated by the Council of Ministers but still needs to be the subject of a law and for the moment only concerns a small number of 'activities.
This measure constitutes one more step after the recent opening of the majority of economic activities to the private sector (apart from key areas such as the press, health, education), previously limited.
Already 600,000 Cubans work in the private sector, ie 13% of the working population, but these "cuentapropistas" (autoentrepreneurs) demanded a legal structure allowing them to set up businesses.
In recent months, the Cuban government has accelerated reforms to modernize the economy, plunged into its worst crisis in thirty years due to US sanctions, the coronavirus pandemic and the bureaucratic red tape of its socialist model.
However, the Cuban government has declared that opening up to non-state activities does not imply "a process of privatization" and that "there are limits which must not be exceeded".
© 2021 AFP