HAVANA – Entrepreneurial-minded Cubans will be able to enter 178 occupations and in 83 of them will be able to hire employees, according to sources in the Raul Castro government cited Friday in the Communist Party daily Granma.
The paper published the first details of the plan announced by the island’s government to favor self-employment in the face of plans to eliminate 500,000 jobs from the teeming state payrolls over the next six months.
To stimulate self-employment development, the Cuban government is studying the possibility of granting business loans, Granma said.
Of the 178 trades in which self-employment will be allowed, seven are completely new and include tutoring, agricultural day labor, selling agricultural produce at highway stalls, and bookkeeping.
The government plan makes self-employment more flexible for another 29 activities already permitted, but for which no licenses have been granted for several years.
Another of the measures announced is an increase in the number of customers – up to 20 – that the famous mini-restaurants in private homes known as “paladares” can accept. Up to now “paladares” have only been allowed to serve 12 diners per meal.
These establishments will also be allowed to offer such products as shellfish, sweet potatoes and beef, all banned up to now.
The business of renting out homes will also be increased, eliminating “old prohibitions that lead to weaving a very visible web of illegalities,” Granma said.
Self-employment, the daily said, will be subject to a specific tax system that will require the payment of taxes on personal income, sales, public services and on hiring workers.
To deal with the grave crisis the island is suffering, the Raul Castro government has announced a plan for adjusting the island’s economic model, a process it calls “updating socialism” but which signifies an opening to private enterprise.
With the reduction of state employment and the increase in self-employment, the Cuban regime seeks to boost the island’s productivity and efficiency. EFE