HAVANA TIMES – Cuban President Raul Castro acknowledged on Saturday that, despite his government’s recent market reforms, the island’s economy has had only a “modest” performance in 2014, DPA reported.
In the first half of the year, the Cuban economy maintained a modest growth tendency,” Castro pointed out during a session of Cuba’s National Assembly (Parliament).
Recently, the Cuban government lowered its economic growth prediction for 2014 from 2.2 to 1.4 percent, owing to a “deceleration of the economy greater than predicted.”
“The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 0.6 percent (in the first half of 2014). This denotes a decelerated growth rate for this indicator,” Raul Castro explained to the legislators, attributing the low figure to the lack of “foreign revenue”, “climatic conditions” and the “internal shortcomings” of the island’s State economic management.
Despite growth in the sugar, tourism and agricultural sectors, Cuba reported a downward trend in mining and industry, he added.
The Cuban president also blamed some of the country’s difficulties on the “global economic crisis” and the United States’ economic embargo on the island.
Castro directly referred to the record fine of nearly 9 billion dollars (6.6 billion euros) applied to the French bank BNP Paribas by Washington for doing business with Cuba, Iran and Sudan, in violation to the commercial sanctions imposed on these countries by the United States.
The 83-year-old Castro also stressed that the market reforms implemented over the past several years are entering “a qualitatively higher phase, in which more complex and far-reaching decisions are being evaluated.”