Cuban VP Predicts Major Private-Sector Expansion

HAVANA TIMES, April 24 — Between 40 and 45 percent of economic activity in Cuba will shift to the non-state sector in the next five years, predicted Esteban Lazo, a vice president of the Cuban Council of State, speaking Sunday on national television.

Lazo, who is also a member of the Politburo of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC), said the changes — including increasing the numbers of self-employed workers, in addition to the tax revenues that are generated — should lead to greater efficiency on the part of local governments.

A year ago, the PCC approved a plan that included more than 300 economic reforms aimed at “updating” the currently over-centralized economy that has been in force for decades on the island.

These reforms have made possible the rapid doubling of the number of private workers, who now total more than 300,000, reported Reuters.