HAVANA TIMES — The Cuban government expects its economy to grow by over four percent in 2015, says Economy Minister Marino Murillo, reported dpa on Monday.
“In 2015 an increase in GDP (gross domestic product) of slightly above 4% is projected, whereby the modest growth rates and slowing trend of recent years will be reversed,” the official Granma daily quoted Murillo as stating in his presentation of the 2015 Economy Plan during a meeting of the Cabinet on Friday.
Murillo, also in charge of the commission overseeing the market reforms on the island, confirmed that the Cuban GDP is expected to close with a 1.3% growth this year, almost one percentage point below the 2.2 percent initially forecated.
Back in June the government of Raul Castro had reduced its economic growth forecast to 1.4 percent due to a “higher than expected economic slowdown.”
The problems were due mainly to poor performance in the sugar and other manufacturing industries, noted Granma.
The Havana government spent as planned over 2 billion US dollars in food imports in 2014. The economic forecasts point to an expenditure of 2.194 billion dollars in food imports in 2015, 137 million more than this year.
Because of its acute problems of productivity, the island imports each year up to 80 percent of its food. Market reforms implemented over the past five years have so far failed to significantly revive the farm sector.
According to data published in “Granma” in 2013, government spending on food purchases abroad has increased from 1.5 billion USD in 2011.