HAVANA TIMES – The Cuban government has suspended indefinitely the issuance of new licenses to various types of previously allowed private employment, with the aim of “curbing tax evasion and violations of the law,” local media reported today.
The measure published in the Official Gazette affects private workers, known as “cuentapropistas”, in some sectors of great demand such as private restaurants and room and house rentals.
The Cuban authorities temporarily froze the licenses for other activities such as sales facilitator for homes, dressmaker, party organizer, sports instructor, repairer of electrical and electronic equipment or private tutors, among other sectors.
Those who already have the licenses will be able to continue operating. The government said the prohibition is “temporary” but in the future, no new permits will be granted for some forms of employment such as “wholesale seller of agricultural products”.
From now on, those renting lodging for tourists will have to create “a bank account with fiscal importance” [whatever that means], explained to “Granma” the Director of Revenues of the Ministry of Finance and Prices, Vladimir Regueiro.
Last month, Cuban President Raul Castro warned the national parliament of the need to “resolutely face the illegalities and other deviations that deviate from the established policy” for private work.
He cited as examples “the use of raw materials and equipment of illicit origin” and “underreporting of income to evade tax obligations”.
At the end of the first half of 2017, some 567,000 people worked independently of the Cuban state, just over 5 % of the total population.
“No one should assume that the purpose of these measures is to reverse the development of self-employment in Cuba,” said an article in the official newspaper “Granma.”
The Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Security, Marta Elena Feito, told the newspaper “Granma” that the measures seek to “correct deficiencies”.
“There have been cases where raw materials, materials and equipment of illicit origin are used, non-compliance with tax obligations persists as does under-reporting of income,” said Feito.