Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cuba loosens spending rule for state companies

Thu Mar 26, 2009 12:46pm EDT

By Marc Frank

HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuban President Raul Castro has loosened controls on how state companies spend foreign currency in the first sign a recent cabinet shake-up heralds changes in the running of the economy, businessmen and economists said.

The Cuban and foreign sources said authorities have ended a regulation requiring the Central Bank to approve all state company expenditures of more than $10,000. Analysts said the move would mean less bureaucracy and central control.

The regulation now lifted had slowed the day-to-day operations of state businesses and hurt production, but in the end had done little to effectively control state spending on the island, the sources said. They asked not to be named due to government restrictions on talking with foreign journalists.

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