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  • A man adjusts a scale in a bakery in Havana, Cuba.

    A man adjusts a scale in a bakery in Havana, Cuba. | Photo: Reuters FILE

Published 6 December 2018
Opinion

The number of self-employed Cubans increased from 157,000 to more than 588,000 in 2018.

Cuba's Minister of Labor and Social Security Margarita Gonzalez confirmed Wednesday that President Miguel Diaz-Canel's Administration recognizes self-employment as a source of employment that increases the population's assets and complements the state's activities.

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The number of self-employed Cubans increased from 157,000 to more than 588,000 in 2018, the Minister commented, adding that a new set of improved regulations for this kind of activity will take effect from Dec. 7.
In July, the Cuban Government announced tighter controls for the private sector which had been benefiting from market reforms implemented eight years ago. 

Now authorities have decided to ease the rules limiting Cubans to one business license per person, and restaurants to 50 seats.

"I can go back to dreaming now and being creative again, because I now know it will be legal to have more than one enterprise," said Camilo Condis, a Havana resident who already has two business licenses, but dreams of opening a cafe.

“Cuba: Self-employment is still ordered”

"We received opinions, ideas and experiences that were rigorously evaluated," Minister Gonzalez said, and also explained that the old regulations were modified in some aspects.

Cuba’s Deputy Minister of Finance and Prices Meisi Bolaños clarified that workers who rent homes, offer food and construction services, among others, are obliged to open a 'fiscal banking account.'

Currently, 123 trades are available for self-employment and this form of private entrepreneurship is helping to lessen the effects of the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba. 

"I think this revaluation of the measures is positive. We are job creators, innovators. We are key players in the tourism, transport, and food sectors," Condis said.  

"We are confident in collective leadership and the constant link with the people, guaranteeing its participation in the revolutionary tasks and decision-making," President Miguel Diaz-Canel wrote in a tweet.

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