The Government of Cuba revised upwards on Saturday the growth of the economy of the island in 2018, which now stands at 2.2% instead of the 1.2% announced last December, due to unplanned increases in the sectors of Construction, Health and Agriculture.
"In 2018, once the calculations and reconciliations of the activity levels that determine the behavior of the economy were concluded, a GDP growth of 2.2% was reached, higher than the 1.2% that, as estimated, we report in December, "explained Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel.
The president reported on the correction upward during the closing speech of the third session of the IX legislature of the Parliament of the island, which was also present the former president and leader of the ruling Communist Party of Cuba (PCC, only legal) , Raúl Castro.
The previous figure had been prepared "based on the real results of the economy of July, the end of September and an estimate of December," Economy Minister Alejandro Gil told deputies.
The correction was influenced by growth "above the estimate" in the construction area, which experienced an increase of 9.3% compared to the decrease of 2.2% calculated, he said.
Health (from 1.3 to 3%) and agriculture (from a fall of 4.9% to 2.6% growth) also rose, the official website Cubadebate reported in the review of the parliamentary session, which the foreign press does not have access to.
The previous 1.2% was announced last December by Gil himself at the last plenary session of the National Assembly (unicameral Parliament) of the Caribbean country, which recorded an economic growth of 1.6% in 2017 according to government data. whose indicators are not audited by any international organization.
Then the Cuban Minister of Economy acknowledged that the forecast of 2% was not met by 2018, although he considered the result as "meritorious" amid an "adverse scenario" due to the US embargo and breaches in key sectors such as tourism and tourism. services.
Corruption and illegalities, the low level of savings, indebtedness and insufficient income from exports are among the main burdens of the island's economy, which tries to ward off the specter of recession, which reappeared in 2016 (-0.9 %) for the first time in more than 20 years.
Cuba managed to recover with 1.6% achieved in 2017 and now with 2.2% in 2018, while for this year the Government expects a "realistic" 1.5%, a goal that is endangered by the tightening of the economic embargo of United States and its new prohibition on cruise ships on Cuban coasts.
This week the Minister of Tourism, Manuel Marrero, informed the Parliament that they predict losing 10% of foreign tourists with respect to 2018, and acknowledged that the suspension of cruises from the US It will prevent reaching the goal of 5.1 million visitors, a figure that now stands at around 4.3 million.
The endemic crisis of its ally Venezuela, which has drastically reduced its shipments of subsidized crude, the termination of thousands of contracts for medical services in Brazil and the damages caused by natural phenomena could also negatively influence Cuba's economic growth this year.
During his speech this Saturday, Miguel Diaz-Canel warned that the upward revision of the economic index of 2018 "implies that to achieve the planned growth in 2019 it is necessary to grow more than initially planned".
"In this year, even in the eye of the hurricane of the adversities that the enemy conceived to suffocate us, the Cuban economy can grow slightly thanks to the fact that we have the potential to resist and continue advancing in our development," he insisted.
He added that in the first semester of 2019 "the expected income from exports was not reached, however, production levels that are essential for the country have been met".
Díaz-Canel mentioned the "shortages of supply" of previous months, when products and basic foods disappeared from the stores, and recognized the "deficit" in the import of fuel, which has forced to apply "internal restriction measures" to avoid scheduled blackouts.
The president assured that the Government is putting all its resources in the "economic battle", and advanced the future application of new measures that will be "opportunely informed".
In the plenary of this Saturday the Cuban Parliament approved the new Electoral Law of the country, in addition to two legislations on National Symbols and Fishing. The latter is the first that is approved in the Caribbean island on this activity.
The Cuban president said that the implementation of the Electoral Law, the first legal provision of the recently proclaimed Constitution, will allow electing in October the high offices of the State and designate a new Council of Ministers "before the end of the year".
(tagsToTranslate) Cuba (t) reviews (t) point (t) economic growth (t)