HAVANA TIMES, August 2 – The Cuban economy will grow 1.7 per cent in 2009 and not 2.5 per cent as predicted, due to the international financial crisis and the effects of last year’s hurricanes, announced Minister of Economy Marino Murillo.
Murillo gave the new figure when speaking at a meeting of the Central Committee of the governing Cuban Communist Party.
Back in December the target growth rate for this year was pegged at 6 percent, but the effects of the global crisis saw the price of Cuban exports plummet including nickel the leading earner.
Restricted credits to the island and a cash-flow bind have also decreased import capabilities of many products including oil. The crunch has led to less public transportation, strict energy rationing at workplaces, shrinking inventories in Cuban stores and raw material shortages for industries.
On the bright side Murillo noted that the flow of tourism continues to hold firm, even showing a slight increase, although revenues are down some 10 percent.