Cuba’s GDP Grows 2.1% in 1st Half of 2012

HAVANA TIMES — Cuba’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew 2.1 percent in the first half of 2012, reported Adel Yzquiero, the Minister of Economy and Planning, when speaking before parliament at the Havana Convention Center on Monday.

Presenting the “Execution of the Plan for the Economy and the Budget,” he commented on the positive balance in both exports and imports during the period and a growth in investment compared to 2011, though this had fallen short of expectations.

Trade reported an increase by 7.6 percent, according to the minister, while the commercialization of building materials did not reach projections.

Yzquierdo also announced a 35 percent increase in self-employed workers (now totaling 390,000), and a 7 percent decrease of government sector employees.

Figures were not given on how many small private businesses have failed. The government of Raul Castro hopes to lay off over a  million more workers in the coming years with many becoming self employed or labor for private businesses which can now hire wage workers.