HAVANA – The new private gastronomic and service cooperatives created in Cuba will be able to access the state-run wholesale market to supply themselves with certain products, according to new regulations that will enter into effect on May 2, official media reported on Wednesday.
The new measures apply only to cooperatives in the gastronomic or personal and technical services sectors, as well as to older state-run establishments that have been leased to their employees.
Those two forms of non-state management represent only a small part of all the private micro-enterprises that have been founded on the communist island in recent years.
The enterprises in question will benefit from a discount of around 20 percent in the prices of some products compared to prices on the commercial retail network, where they have supplied themselves until now.
Since Cuba authorized the creation of private cooperatives at the end of 2012, 219 of them have been approved, the majority in Havana, although only 108 are fully functioning while 111 are in the process of formation.
On the other hand, 3,840 old state-run establishments have been leased to the workers, with 1,652 of them in the gastronomic sector.
The need for a wholesale market to be able to supply products is one of the main demands of the private sector that has arisen in Cuba with the Raul Castro government’s economic reform plan.
Experts consulted by EFE said that the measures announced on Wednesday are a small step but do not fully satisfy the expectations of the country’s self-employed workers and entrepreneurs.