Cuban economy grew in 2007 by 7.5 percent, figure below the expected 10 percent, but higher by 5.6 percent to the Latin American average rate.
Cuban Economy Grows 7.5 Per Cent With the presence of Cuban first Vice President Raul Castro, Minister of Economy and Planning Jose Luis Rodriguez rendered the report on economic and social results for the ending year and the guidelines for 2008.
Rodriguez explained that adverse weather conditions affected construction and agriculture, sectors that fell short of their planned growth rates, together with delays in goods imports that reduced the monetary circulation.
In spite of that, Cuba ranks fifth among the 33 countries analyzed by the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
Those results confirm the gradual consolidation of the Cuban economy which accumulates a rise of 42.5 percent in its Gross Domestic Product since 2004.
Rodriguez recalled the rise was obtained amid a hike in imported food and oil prices, increasing financial tensions and the recrudescing of the US blockade on Cuba.
After recognizing the effort, resistance and unity of the people, the Minister explained that work productivity grew by five per cent, investments by 16.8 percent and also key sectors like agriculture, industry, transport and services.
Such advances had a direct impact on the population due to an increase in production and distribution of milk and pork meat, blackout reduction, a modest improvement in passenger transport and conclusion of 300 social works.
In response to the call made by Raul Castro last July 26th of giving timely solution to many of the country"s problems, Rodr¡guez said that in 2008 plans will correspond to the financial, material and human resources available.
It is decisive, he said, that the increase in work productivity, more efficient planning and management, an adequate investment policy for agricultural, industrial production and services, as well as housing.
Rodr¡guez stressed saving, specially of energy products, as an immediate source of resources, cost reduction and the need to prioritize food production, inputs for exports and the substitution of imports.
The parliament"s plenary session continues with the presentation of reports on the execution of the 2007 budget and the budget project for 2008. (PL)