HAVANA – President Raul Castro attended on Friday the year’s first plenary session of the Cuban National Assembly, the country’s unicameral parliament, at which the state of the economy during the first half of 2016 is being analyzed along with plans for the rest of the year, and which the president will wrap up with his traditional closing speech.
Also to be discussed at the session will be a bill for agreement on updating the “Guidelines for the Economic and Social Policy of the Party and the Revolution,” passed by the 7th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, or PCC, last April based on the reforms promoted by Castro since 2011.
The more than 500 lawmakers meeting at Havana’s Palace of Conventions will also debate a report on the use of the national budget in 2015 and the execution of the Plan for the Economy in the first six months of this year.
Attending the plenary session with President Castro will be No. 2 in the PCC, Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, and Cuba’s First Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canal, according to state news agency Cubana de Noticias.
Previous meetings of the National Assembly’s 10 permanent working committees began last July 4 with debates on such subjects as the country’s digitization, the progress of tourism and the “complex scenario” that has affected the island’s revenues in the first half of 2016.
Also examined were the nation’s housing program, the state of investments in energy and hydraulic resources, passenger transportation and the results of an adolescence research project, among other matters.
At the last meeting of the National Assembly in late 2015, the island’s authorities were looking at a 2-percent cutback in estimates of the island’s economic growth in 2016, as a consequence of the worldwide situation marked basically by the drop in prices of raw materials that the island exports.
The Cuban National Assembly, which holds two ordinary meetings a year, the second of them in December, is made up of 612 lawmakers representing the country’s 168 municipalities, and is elected once every five years.